Peace Amadi

A former graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), this wildly driven, passionate, and talented 24-year-old woman has gone on to pursue her doctorate in the field of psychology (Psy.D) at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. She plans to present her doctoral dissertation project at the American Psychological Association’s (APA) national convention this next year.

Peace is especially proud of her work as a counselor at St. Raphael, a private elementary and middle school in South Central Los Angeles. She serves a predominantly lower class, African/African-American and Hispanic population in the roughest part of the city. Peace has helped many of her students deal with a variety of social, emotional, and psychological problems. Peace’s beloved family currently resides in Ontario, California. She is the oldest of four siblings of whom she is incredibly proud of. Her esteemed parents – Dr. Gilbert Amadi and Rev. Debbie Amadi – have pioneered and pastor a church in Ontario in which Peaces leads the praise and worship team and organizes the youth ministry.

AM: How does it feel to be nominated as the 2007 Miss Nigeria In America Winner?

PA: It feels great! To tell you the truth, I’m still somewhat shocked. The other delegates were so beautiful and extremely talented. I felt it was anybody’s game. But I put my best foot forward and just hoped for the best. I’m extremely honored to be this year’s winner and am incredibly excited about what this year holds.

AM: Can you tell me briefly how did you get involved in the contest?

PA: Actually, my sister had competed in this pageant about two years ago. She was a top ten finalist and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun she had doing it. She peaked my interest but with school, work, and all my other responsibilities, I didn’t have much time to think about it. When this year’s application process rolled around, both my sister and mom encouraged me to think about participating. I thought I’d give it a shot and here I am!

AM: What is your motivation or inspiration behind this title?

PA: I’m so honored to represent an organization that seeks to educate, appreciate, and celebrate Nigerian women. We are a beautiful set of people who have real potential to impact our community – here and abroad – in positive ways. This title motivates me to be a role model of character, strength, hard work, and determination – traits I believe are necessary for us to maintain if we are to affect change in our own personal lives and community. I aspire to join the ranks of visionary, Nigerian women who continue to set the groundwork for real change to occur.

AM: What prize did you win?

PA: I won a $2500 savings bond, some beautiful hand-crafted, authentic jewelry, lots of PR, and of course a year’s worth of an opportunity to implement a platform that is close to my heart. Oh…and the crown!

AM: What are your plans in the future as the 2007 Miss Nigeria in America Winner?

PA: Well, I am currently developing a project that will aim to reach out to abused, abandoned, and orphaned children in Nigeria. The project is based on my belief that all children have a right to have their emotional, psychological, and creative needs met. I’ve named this project “Project WHOLE” because it is about promoting wholeness in the lives of these children. My hope is to be able to take a diverse team of individuals out to orphanages in Nigeria and put on “Self-esteem,” “Character- Building,” and “Creative Expression” and other workshops that will help these kids take themselves seriously, find value in their lives and challenge them to be the best they can be. I hope that when I am with these kids, I will be able to empower them to hope, dream big, and follow through in all of their endeavors.

AM: How will this event help you contribute to Nigeria?

PA: The success of a nation depends on how well it takes care of its children. I believe that as more people devote time and energy to the education and empowerment of our children, more children will grow up to be strong, intelligent, and well-rounded individuals who not only achieve personal and communal victories, but who will lead our country into greater victories in Nigeria and abroad.

AM: How was the preparation to the event?

PA: The preparation was intense! For about two months before the pageant, we were required to research and write about different topics. These papers addressed a myriad of Nigerian issues as well as women issues and were assigned to us on a weekly basis. During these same two months, we also had to volunteer with an organization and keep a journal entry about our experiences. I chose to write about my church youth ministry, in which I lead weekly discussions about various topics. And then there were the outfits. I can’t forget the time, energy (and money) that went into finding the perfect swimsuit,traditional wear, evening gown, etc. It’s a beauty pageant. For every category, you want an outfit that will stand out, make a statement, and yet still flatter your figure. This is all part of being a woman. The way we put ourselves together is somewhat of a reflection of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.

AM: As an African professional woman living in the U.S.A., what are the most challenging issues you have encounter?

PA: I was just thinking about being an African professional, and particularly, about representing the Nigerian woman in professional circles. Just recently, I was having a discussion with some colleagues and somebody made a comment about Nigerian males being “crooks.” I was outraged, but I addressed the comment as respectfully and gracefully as I could. Ignorance is a disease and everybody, at least at one point or another, suffers from it. I was glad I was able to talk about it with her, but it reminded me of the challenges I face as a professional Nigerian woman in America. When people learn that I am an African, many different stereotypes come into their minds. They may not always verbalize their thoughts, but I can always feel that they are thinking something…Or worse yet, have no idea what to think. It then becomes my personal responsibility to educate people about my culture, as well as combat negative stereotypes about my people. The limited and biased view that the media puts out about Africans, and specifically Nigerians, is unfortunate. I sometimes feel like whether I want to be or not, I am a walking campaign of Nigerian people. I’ve learned though, that actions speak louder than words. I don’t need prove myself to anybody; I just need to be the person I strive to be and people will see the truth.

AM: Any last Comments?

PA: I would just like to thank my family and friends once again for all their support. I couldn’t have done any of this without you all. To the MNIA organization, thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. And to my fellow Nigerians, I only hope I can make you proud this upcoming year. God is so good.

 2007 Miss NIgeria in America Beauty Pageant Winner

BIOGRAPHY

Platform: Reaching out to the Abused,Abandoned, and Orphaned children of Nigeria

A former graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), this wildly driven, passionate, and talented 24-year-old woman has gone on to pursue her doctorate in the field of psychology (Psy.D) at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. She plans to present her doctoral dissertation project at the American Psychological Association’s (APA) national convention this next year.Peace is especially proud of her work as a counselor at St. Raphael, a private elementary and middle school in South Central Los Angeles. She serves a predominantly lower-class, African/ African-American and Hispanic population in the roughest part of the city. Peace’s beloved family currently resides in Ontario, California.