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Tanzilya Saleemjan Oren

Board Member

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Country of origin/assiciation:

Samarkand, Uzbekistan


Tanzilya is a lifelong community organizer and nonprofit manager in the areas of women's rights, civil society rights, and queer and immigrant justice in Uzbekistan, South Africa, and now in the U.S.  She had to leave Uzbekistan due to the Uzbek government’s persecution of her community and grassroots activism. She has recently embarked on an academic career in community-engaged research and received her Ph.D.  in social work.


Her research focuses on LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers. Specifically, she conducted qualitative participatory research and published it in the Journal of LGBTQ Counseling with Lyosha Gorshkov, highlighting the unique challenges of LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S.


Her dissertation, which she successfully defended in 2022, was about the transformative organizing of RUSA LGBTQ as a unique grassroots group. Currently, she co-leads RUSA as a volunteer acting co-director and leads RUSA’s fundraising and strategic development.



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