Local philanthropic force honored as International Citizen of the Year
Since 1985, the World Affairs Council has honored an individual who has significantly contributed to San Antonio's growth as an international city. Last week, the Council celebrated a giant in the city's social justice community, Waheeda Thawerbhoy Kara, as International Citizen of the Year.
Kara's commitment to community service sprung out of hardship. She lost her father during childhood as her family fled genocide in her native Bangladesh. But the challenges of being a young refugee only ignited a lifelong devotion to giving back. Guided by her Shia Ismaili Muslim faith, she has been a civic service force for over 35 years.
According to a release, Kara has been working with the City of San Antonio since 2008, when she co-developed the Muslim Cultural Heritage Society. Among her cultural contributions are spearheading the first city-sponsored Eid Festival and bringing the Aga Khan Foundation's Partnership Walk to San Antonio. More recently, she was selected to serve on the Mayor's Council on Police Community Relations.
Her involvement with nonprofits has spanned more than 35 years. Currently, she is the president of the National Inter-organizational Collaborative, an Interfaith Committee member at San Antonio Food Bank, and an Advisory Board member at UTHSC Mays Cancer Center. The work has led to widespread recognition, including being named a Woman of Substance by Dream Week and being honored by a state resolution.
"Waheeda Thawerbhoy Kara is the epitome of international citizenship," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg via release. "Her story is one of tireless work on behalf of our community and our world through an array of nonprofits..."
Kara was honored on March 15 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The award ceremony included a keynote speech from Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Doris Kearns Goodwin.