2015-2016 Luce Scholar

Jakelin Bonilla (Jaki) will be placed with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Thailand, where she will work with IOM’s Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants program, from the organization’s sub-office in Mae Sot in Western Thailand. Mae Sot hosts a substantial population of Burmese migrants and refugees along the Thai-Burmese border. Working with displaced people and other vulnerable migrants, Jaki and her colleagues will also gather and analyze information and data on their situation, new policies concerning their rights and obligations, and social services available especially in the areas of health, education and protection. Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, inter-governmental and nongovernmental partners. It has a strong presence in Thailand, which has been a Member State of IOM since 1986.

Originally from Los Angeles, Sista Jakelin “Jaki” Bonilla grew up in Siler City, North Carolina. She graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2012 with a major in Global Studies and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Jakelin is an immigration activist. She founded Linking Immigrants to New Communities, which helps ease the transition of recent immigrants through student interaction and awareness-raising in the community, and served on the UNC Emerging Communities Taskforce that established the! Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, dedicated to developing a greater awareness of Latina/o issues, cultures and identities. Jakelin conducted ethnographic research and volunteered in Central and South America, served as co-chair of the Great Decisions Program, mentored in the Scholars Latino Initiative, and worked as a Senior Intern in the Bonners Leaders Program at the Campus Y, the oldest and largest student service and social justice organization on UNC campus. She currently serves as the director of the Campus Y’s Global Gap Year Fellowship. In Asia, Jakelin wishes to pursue opportunities to work with women leaders exploring justice in an intellectual and entrepreneurial environment.