Last week, I had participated in Jusoor Syria Consortium for Mentorship Program which is organized and attended by Syrian students who are accomplishing their degrees in different fields of study here in the United States.
The discussion focused on the difficulties that we are witnessing in our country and the adjustments to academic life in our new colleges and universities. We shared our experiences, lessons learned and advice in order to improve the overall educational benefits among the group members. We also discussed our visions for the future and how best to reflect and to prepare for those experiences when we return to our country Syria.
I was relieved and heartened when I heard the range of different visions and thoughts, and I realized that no matter how long the war will last, one day it will come to an end and then we will have the chance to get back to our homes and families to rebuild the country.
In preparing for that day when we reunite with our families, we must also begin to think about how we can participate in the change for a brighter future through education right now. What can we do from where we are and who are the partners and collaborators that we can join to take small and definitive steps? What should we doing while we prepare for our return? These are, as yet, unanswered questions but ones that we must answer as individuals and as a community of Syrian undergraduates in the diaspora.
I believe that education is the most critical and important component for us to leverage in our time for broader understanding and peace. Education has always and will always be the key to the change.
Farah Haddad ,The guest speaker in the seminar, had the chance to meet with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl that had become a profound example for access to education. Malala has joined the United Nations in calling for for education to be recognized as a human right – as a right for every individual in the world, no matter where he or she lives.
I don’t know when peace will spread in my country, but I do know that every day we have our own Syrian Malalas – unsung heroes within the country and in neighboring refugee camps who work to provide innovative initiatives to further the unrelenting desire for education within the Syrian people.
We are a country whose children and adults believe strongly in education, and they are ready to give whatever they are asked for in order to spread education and prepare the Syrian children for the future. While the world may not know their names as well as Malala, we honor the work that women and men undertake everyday to further learning; and we all seek and must do our part – as a matter of duty and obligation – as we work toward peace and understanding for all.
IIT Armour College of Engineering | Expected graduation, December 2014
Safouh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org