Elizabeth Romary – Alumna Spotlight
Project Assistant, International Organization for Migration (IOM) – United Nations
Hometown: Greenville, NC
BA in Spanish and International Studies, minor in Cinema (2017)
“Languages help us understand the world and give us access to stories we may never have found out without being able to communicate in a language other than our own mother tongue.”
Elizabeth Romary speaks from deeply personal experiences. Having studied abroad in Cuba and Argentina, she is truly a student of the world who still keeps in close contact with the numerous friends she has made abroad. Moreover, Romary is called to serve.
While at the University of Mississippi, Romary was active in the Phi Mu sorority, served in the ASB senate, co-founded Rebels Against Sexual Assault (RASA), and worked on the national It’s On Us committee to organize campaigns to eliminate sexual assault at universities throughout the southern US.
Romary’s passion for service extends to her life after graduation, as well. She volunteered with the Peace Corp in Namibia, Africa, where she taught English, natural science, and reading. In Namibia, Elizabeth appljed the language skills she acquired at the University of Mississippi to learn Africaans as well as Khoekhoegowab, the click-language spoken by the Nama tribe with whom she lives.
Hear Elizabeth explain the click sounds and speak a few phrases in Khoekhoegowab:
Romary reported that because of her willingness to speak their language, members of the Nama tribe “have told me that they feel like I really care about them because of the effort I’m putting in—even if I’m bad!” Her language abilities have allowed her to deeply integrate herself into their community, and the tribe has even bestowed upon her the Nama name /Khaekhoes (/ = click your tongue between your teeth), meaning “person of blessing.”
She earned her MS in International Relations and Affairs from Northeastern University where she focused on areas of global health, development, and diplomacy and completed a capstone case study on the conflict in Somalia. Following that graduate degree, she became an English teacher with VIPKid. She is currently a Project Assistant with International Organization for Migration (IOM) – United Nations. She develops capacity-building trainings in cultural competency and understanding, organizes meetings, works with senior leadership to complete complex projects, and tracks project changes.