Noor Muhammad Ariffin Azeera of Ipoh, Malaysia, has an enthusiasm for community development. With a bachelor’s degree in Islamic banking and finance and a graduate degree in business, her passion lies in using policy to improve the wellbeing of her country. After she graduated in 2007, she joined the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, Malaysia’s leader in economic, social and political issues.

After three and a half years with Merdeka, Azeera returned to school. She attended the International Institute of Public Policy and Management (INPUMA) at the University of Malaya. However, she chose not to finish her study, as she won a scholarship from the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) in the middle of her program.

With IDPP/ American University faculty members, IDPP second cohort and AGENDA prime movers, Chris Donn and Hepi Sebayang after AGENDA Briefing and Presentation at the 2-week IDPP Residency Program, Sampran Riverside, Bangokok, Thailand

The IDPP is a network of organizations in Southeast Asia that connect to the American University in Washington, D.C. The IDPP offers a master’s degree in disability policy through American University’s School of International Services (SIS). The program envisions a rights-based, barrier-free and inclusive society in Southeast Asia by producing students who contribute to the development and analysis of policies related to persons with disabilities.

During her study in IDPP, Azeera volunteered with the Society of the Blind in Malaysia. She joined the organization for a year before returning to Ipoh to join the Darul Ridzuan Institute, a semi government-owned company.

Azeera believes many disability issues have not yet been addressed effectively, including women with disabilities, the education system for persons with disabilities, children with disabilities and others. According to Azeera, these issues need to be discussed by stakeholders – including civil society, disabled persons’ organizations and government – to create a dynamic human rights mechanism.

With IDPP faculty members and students at AGENDA 2nd Regional Dialogue in Bali, Indonesia organized by AGENDA

Azeera is currently looking for an internship related to her policy interests. She would like to work closely with AGENDA’s partners, especially those in Malaysia. She is interested in understanding the roles that different stakeholders can play in ensuring the participation of persons with disabilities in democracy. She would also like to participate in community efforts to promote democracy through advocacy and strategic communications.

An educator, a public activist and researcher, Azeera hopes she will be an agent of change for her country as she gains experience and participates more in regional and international development in the future.