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The Impact of Introductions

By Ashley Poling

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My name is Ashley Poling, and I am a third-year law student at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina.  After studying public international, humanitarian, and human rights law in Geneva, Switzerland and Strasbourg, France during the summer of 2011, I realized how much I wanted to pursue international law as a career.  I am very interested in working with nonprofit organizations that focus on advocacy issues that directly help people in need around the world.

When Murali Bashyam, President of Friends Unite, reached out to me this past spring to work on this new human rights and advocacy section, I was excited to get involved with such a wonderful organization.  How did Murali know I would be interested in this kind of work, you might ask?  When I tell you the connections that brought us to this point, you will be able to see just how truly amazing a simple introduction can be.

My mother, Lindy Poling, a retired teacher of 35-years, taught Murali as a high school student in the 1980s; but this re-connection was only made after Murali met my father, Barclay Poling, nearly 20 years later. Murali and my Dad met through their volunteer work for Southern Sudan Fellowship, a nonprofit organization in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Knowing that I had some interest in international law, my Dad suggested that Murali might be a good person for me to meet.  After meeting for coffee and expressing my growing interest in human rights law, I was intrigued by Murali’s career as both an Immigration lawyer and as the founder of a nonprofit organization.  When Murali contacted me this past spring in regards to getting involved with Friends Unite, we both concluded that I might be able to help with developing this new section for the organization.

After beginning work on this new human rights and advocacy blogging section for Friends Unite, the connections only continued to grow.  I had the privilege of brainstorming with Murali and Pam Prather, Vice-President of Friends Unite, in early June regarding this blogging section.  My first blog, which explores the issue of newborn screening, ultimately resulted from a connection through Maria Corena-McLeod of the nonprofit WSAID (World Solutions Against Infectious Diseases), a nonprofit partner of Friends Unite.  After Murali put me in touch with Maria, she was kind enough to connect me with Jill Levy-Fisch, President of Save Babies Through Screening Foundation, which inspired my first blog for Friends Unite.

It is truly amazing when you think how these little connections ultimately culminated in a project that I believe will truly make a difference in the world of advocacy.  If we can expose people to issues that they might never have known about before visiting the Friends Unite website through this blog, we are that much closer to inspiring action that will ultimately result in positive change.  I am thrilled to be working on such a project, and I strongly believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason.  I will look forward to increasing the wonderful connections of Friends Unite through this incredible opportunity, and I thank you for taking the time to read.

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