"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Tigest Sendaba, MA


Tigest Sendaba is a human rights advocate and professional with experience in the national, regional and international fields.

Tigest recently worked as a Human Rights Officer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for the Pacific based in Suva, Fiji. The office works to promote human rights principles, instruments and practice across 16 Pacific Island countries including Australia and New Zealand. Tigest provided technical assistance in promoting human rights, responding to emerging issues, meaningful engagement in the Universal Periodic Review and advocating for increased ratification and effective implementation of international human rights conventions and declarations.

Prior to that position, Tigest worked for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC/RRRT) as a Human Rights Policy Development Mentor. Tigest’s work at RRRT focused primarily on violence against women and rights of persons with a disability. Tigest also has extensive experience with implementing human rights standards (policy, procedure, training and education) in law enforcement through her work in Australia with Victoria Police and ACT Corrective Services. Prior to that Tigest also worked in research and policy relating to Indigenous Affairs with the Australian Federal Government.

Tigest holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of Melbourne, Honors in Sociology – with a thesis on social movements and political activism – and a Bachelor of Arts both from the Australian National University.


This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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