BA International Studies (International Security, Cooperation, and Norms); BA Political Science; minor, Arab and Muslim American Studies ’17
Hometown: Flint, Michigan
University of Michigan Affiliations: Students Allied for Freedom & Equality; Islamophobia Working Group; Arabesque Dance Troupe; Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival; Michigan Refugee Assistance Program; Central Student Government; Kappa Sigma Fraternity
“My International Studies major has been enormously helpful in my career since my time at Michigan. After graduation, I accepted the role of executive director at the Arab American Heritage Council, an Arab community nonprofit based in Flint. The organization is dedicated to serving the 20,000-member Arab American community of Genesee County through cultural and educational programming, and immigration and translation services. I have many roles as executive director, but my International Studies major has helped me primarily in three areas: educational programming, immigration and translation services, and advocacy.
My sub-plan in the major allowed me to focus my study on the Middle East through its history, modern development, and its social and cultural contexts. This has allowed me to serve as an ambassador when discussing the Middle East in educational partnerships in schools and local community organizations. I can elaborate on my own experiences as an Arab American, as well as speak on the history of Arabs and the Middle East more generally, due to my study during my major.
My role has also included assisting in our immigration and language program. This program is designed to assist immigrants in obtaining proper legal status through filing of applications, or translating official documents from Arabic to English. The Arabic skills that I developed as the language requirement for the International Studies major has allowed me to fluently converse and service Arabic-speaking clients in a way that would not be possible beforehand.
Finally, my role as an ambassador for the Arab American community of Flint includes advocating for policies and opposing discrimination and racism at the local, state, and national levels. This level of advocacy requires an understanding of not only domestic U.S. policy, but also the interconnectedness of global events and their impact on populations and migration. This nuanced understanding of events was a core tenet of my International Studies major, and it has made me uniquely capable of accurately and diplomatically representing my community in the highest levels of government.”