Saturday, November 9, 2013
Q & A
Residing in Jerusalem, Israel
Graduated from UM 2013 with dual degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and International Security and Cooperation.
WWFF member from 2009-2013.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: I don’t necessarily have a single role model. In fact, I can think of a hundred people with positive qualities I try to emulate; my mother for her work effort, my father for his sense of humor and humility, my colleagues for their commitment, and most importantly the refugees I work with for their resilience and perseverance.
Q: If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
A: I legitimately thought for five minutes about this question and really can’t give you an answer. Frankly, I’m perfectly content meeting the people I do every day. For instance, right now, I’m working on a series of camp resident profiles, where I interview a family or resident in each camp. I hear about their struggles and challenges but also their successes and hopes, I get to sit with them in their homes or shops and listen to them tell me stories of the past, of living through history, and it’s truly remarkable. Meeting these people has probably taught me more than a meeting with some famous person ever could.
Q: What are you doing at this moment in your career path?
A: I’m currently working with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East) in their West Bank office. I’m working on a variety of projects including community mental health, GBV awareness, and researching and writing profiles for the 19 refugee camps in the West Bank. It’s overall a very rewarding position, with a lot of opportunities to work in the camps and to get a better sense of what life is like for those who live there, which in turn contributes to my quality of work.
Q. What advice do you have to those who aspire the same career goals as you?
A: Go abroad (anywhere outside of Western Europe) for an extended period of time. This is important both to give you the experience of truly understanding and being able to function in a diverse environment, but also to really see if this is the path you want to pursue. Second, I would say it’s absolutely imperative that you learn (and learn well) a second and even third language spoken in the region you are interested in. Linguistic proficiency will open a lot of doors both in a professional and personal sense, and will allow you a lot of opportunities not accessible if you only speak English.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: What free time? (jokes) I actually volunteer at a center, which provides legal aid for African migrants and refugees in Israel, and I’m working to coordinate the collection, transportation and distribution of material donations for Syrian refugees living in Jordan.
However, on my days off, I really like to go hiking in the Golan and Galilee in the north of the country, or to the Negev in the south. Geographically speaking, Israel and Palestine is very small, but has the diversity of the whole US, so it’s quite nice to be in the desert one day and in green mountains the next.
Q: How did you hear about WILL WORK FOR FOOD?
A: When I was a freshman I was looking for opportunities to get involved in a service organization at UM and I had some older friends who were in WWFF. I joined them on the annual canned food drive and had a great time. Then, when I started to become more involved with the organization, I really saw how much more of an impact I was making my using the WWFF model, and that’s what really attracted me to the organization.
Q. What was your role on WWFF headquarters team?
A: I was the regional manager (college outreach coordinator) on the WWFF headquarters team. My main responsibilities included coordinating the activities of campus chapters nationwide and acting as a liaison between University Representatives and WWFF headquarters in addition to providing training, organizational and logistical support for University Representatives and reaching out to possible new chapters. The position was great for me because I could provide support for new chapters, and thus got to see how each chapter developed and grew over the course of an academic year. It was also great because I could meet and work with students from across the country who had the same goals and vision as we at HQ did.
Q.What was your favorite part of being in WWFF?
A: I really loved how collaborative, open and flexible it was. Especially with my always-overly-confident class schedules, it was nice to be able to volunteer independently and on my own schedule, but also to be able to participate in WWFF sponsored activities when I wanted to. I also loved how well our WWFF team worked together; I really looked forward every week to our meetings both because I always felt like we really accomplished a lot, but also because it was an open space for discussion with people who became really good friends.
Q: If you could describe WILL WORK FOR FOOD in one word, what would it be?
A: Dedication; it’s really amazing to see how dedicated WWFF members are. Most members have a full schedule of classes, extracurricular activities and even lively social lives, but still manage to find time week after week to work for something bigger than them. That’s dedication.