Modeling Our World – 2017 Women of the World Fashion Show

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MARCH, 2017

Women of the World Fashion Show Salt Lake City Diversity Refugee Resettlement

The 2017 Women of the World Fashion Show strove to model the world we desire: women from all nations showing off the uniqueness of their culture surrounded by the loving support of a community. The healing of this event is apparent as I look through the photos and enjoy the comments on social media.When I named Women of the World, I wanted to make a statement about my sisters that share in giving care and building community.

I wanted to show that our diversity was the key to Utah achieving its potential.

The name Women of the World suggests a partnership of refugee women taking control of their lives with the help of those who know that “women’s rights are human rights.” We care for one another because we are all sisters and we remain positive because we know we must set the example if we are to nurture our society.

Power pose at the 2017 Women of the World Fashion Show

All photographs by Adam O’Neill on

Women of the World believes that to care about refugees is to recognize divinity in the eyes of the most vulnerable – to engage instead of looking away.

The last 7 years, we have been privileged to work with the wonderful, courageous, hard-working, compassionate, caring, smart, and beautiful women that give our community resilience.

“Women of the World believes that to care about refugees is to recognize divinity in the eyes of the most vulnerable – to engage instead of looking away.”

We serve women from Syria, Iran, Congo, Central African, Burma, Nepal, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan. We have trained Utahns from the age of 14 to the age of 80 to mentor and extend a hand to refugees.

We have seen friendships grow, making Utah a place where there are fewer strangers and more neighbors. Our ladies — from all over the world –are paying forward our lessons in their home countries.

Women of the World is a boutique service and capacity building organization. Our ladies have custom needs. They need a caring professional to help them over one last hurdle, to get them a stable job, or to help them fill out their first application to college.

Most of you can reach out to your family if you need a hand, Women of the World is that family for our ladies.

By popular demand, WoW is publishing the introductions of the models, their hopes and aspirations, and the fashions that distinguish their heritage. As you read through these brief introductions, I think you will see why Women of the World is so proud of both these women and the Salt Lake City community that has welcomed them, creating a model world.


Faeiza Javed (left) is from Pakistan. Faeiza received both her bachelor’s (2013) and master’s (2014) degree in social work from the University of Utah. Faeiza is a social worker and mental health therapist. Most of her work has focused on individuals who are suffering from depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and PTSD. She hopes to one day become a leading voice for mental health in the Muslim and refugee communities.

Nora Abu-Dan is a former reigning Miss United Nations USA 2014. Nora represented her beautiful land and people of Palestine in the Pageant and has worked at great lengths to bring awareness and educate people about her motherland. Her platform was “Fight for your right! You have a voice, let it be heard.” Nora graduated with her degree in Economics and a minor in Spanish in 2015; thereafter, she attended the S.J. Quinney College of Law where she completed her first year of Law School.

Gol Shan is from Afghanistan and she desires to complete her studies in business management and nursing. She is wearing a traditional female dress called Firaq Partug. Women wear solid-colored trousers, a long kamis skirt with a belt. More elaborate and fancier dresses are detailed with gold threading, gold beads, and come in many different colors on silk fabrics.

Faranak is from Iran. Representing LORISTAN a province of Western Iran in the Zargos Mountains. She is a mom of an 11 year old. Her dream in life is to work with people who need help.