Marina’s story

Marina Mahathir

I feel Sussex gave me a voice to question and to challenge.”Marina Mahathir
International Relations BA graduate
Journalist and activist

‘I wanted to be a journalist so I thought politics and international relations would be a good place to start. I came to Sussex because I thought if I went to London, I’d be out partying too much. That was before I knew what Sussex was like!

I did have a good time when I was here, but I also learned so much from being with people from all over the world. My father was then the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. When I met a student who knew more about my country’s politics than I did, I realised how naïve I was, and how important it was for me not to live in my father’s shadow or to regurgitate his views. I had to think for myself.

I got involved with fundraising for AIDS in Malaysia because no one was really talking about it. I’m proud that – during my time as President of the Malaysian AIDS Council – we advocated for and achieved free treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in government hospitals, and we instituted needle exchange programmes.

I’m also proud of my work campaigning for the rights of Muslim women. I’m so humbled and grateful to have been named the UN’s Person of the Year in Malaysia in 2010 and to have received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2016.

I’ll always support and help those who have no voice. The voiceless are the ones most ignored by those in power and even those who aspire to power. Yet I do believe that the true measure of a good government is how it takes care of the weakest segments of society, not the strongest.

I feel Sussex gave me a voice to question and to challenge.’

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