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Drawing a fine line between emotions and immigration policy

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
Graduate student, Mary Ajibade, poses for a portrait on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

Ademidun Ajibade’s first name means “my crown is sweet” in her native Nigeria. Which is appropriate considering the second-year international affairs graduate student admits that her life so far has had a good taste to it. “There’s power in name,” says Ajibade, who actually prefers to go by Mary, her middle name, because that’s what friends and classmates called her growing up. The name stuck. “My preference is to be called Mary because I don’t want any sort of confusion where I’m called Ademidun in some circles and Mary in other circles.”

Identity is important to Ajibade, who spent the first six months of 2021 on co-op in Greece working with refugees in search of a new start. She worked with the senior investigator on human rights issues in the office of the Greek ombudsman, an independent agency that mediates disputes between the government and residents. Her co-op work centered around migration cases involving Greek citizens as well as those of other nationalities.

“So when it comes to asylum, an application for citizenship, or applying for a visa to come to Greece, if you had any complaints around that process―maybe you were not responded to fast enough or maybe your application was denied and you wanted to contest it, it will come to our office,” she explains.

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