One Young World Profile profiles

Romy Wakil

University of Saint Andrews [MA, Psych], University of Edinburgh [MA,Counselling]

I am passionate about

From a very young age, I have long been interested in fighting injustice and in working towards enhancing the rights of all individuals within society. More precisely, my passion in fighting for justice holds numerous angles; the societal rhetoric on difference and diversity which breeds racism and xenophobia, intergenerational transmission of trauma and its unconscious effects on ‘othering’ and stimulating an ‘us vs. them’ mentality within society as well as the media/education/the power of language’s impact on the intra and interpersonal dynamics between different societies.

This passion stems from my understanding of the complexity of cross-cultural diversity as a migrant of Lebanese origin growing up in the divided country of Cyprus. My personal involvements in multicultural environments meant that I had the opportunity to witness numerous instances of xenophobia as well as the ensuing profound detrimental impacts that institutional and interpersonal racism can have on an individual’s capacity to maximise their potential within society. As a result of my mindset, I have sought to work for this cause in different locations mainly; Lebanon, Scotland and Cyprus. More precisely, I have worked with vulnerable young adults; providing education to Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Lebanon, establishing therapeutic relationships with war victims and young migrants at a low income counselling centre in Scotland, and volunteering with the United Nations by providing emotional support and working as a translator for the Lebanese refugees that were seeking refuge in Cyprus from the war in Lebanon. As I was the sole translator (English – Arabic) volunteering for the United Nations in Cyprus during that time, my duties also required me to communicate several refugees’ needs to my fellow UN volunteers. Achieving a level of interpersonal equality and respect are concepts that I learnt to adopt as a consequence of all my volunteering and professional experiences.


In my position as Programme Officer and Mental Health Counsellor at KISA, I have managed to help engender a positive change in the Cypriot community through various mechanisms. On an interpersonal level, due to my professional background in Counselling and tri-linguicism, I have also sought to establish supportive relationships with numerous migrants and refugees in an effort to aid them in their relocation process to Cyprus.
Finally, I believe that the most transformative manner in which I am helping create positive change is through my daily work at KISA. More precisely, KISA´s long established expertise on migration, asylum, trafficking and anti-discrimination issues which focus primarily on; Migration, Asylum, Racism, Discrimination and Trafficking has meant that I am able to partake in multifarious manners of creating positive change. For example, awareness-raising of the Cypriot society by participating in peaceful protests [the most recent one was led by migrants fighting for equal rights and consisted of poetry readings and music fighting for the cause of equality at the end], aiding colleagues in lobbying in an effort to change the legal and structural framework. The fact that our work office is also a Migrant and Refugee Centre which serves to provide free information, support, advocacy and mediation services to migrants, refugees, victims of trafficking and racism / discrimination and ethnic minorities in general, highlights that my daily life consists of dabbling in multifarious areas all geared towards establishing KISA’s and my own personal mandate of non-discrimination and equal rights for all humanity.