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  • Writer's pictureIbrahim Insights

Odd Fruit: A Poetry Compilation on Identity

By Shawheen Rezaei, Harvard University

Project Update:

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Ibrahim Program, I have embarked on compiling 100 poems for my first poetry book, titled Odd Fruit and 99 Other Universal Verses. Having personally had to reconcile faith, heritage and identity throughout my own life, the poetry book seeks to chart this process of reconciliation, with the hopes of aiding others who are navigating the critical junctures that emerge as we strive to live authentically.

I have submitted my first poetry compilation to several poetry contests with the hopes of exploring printing press publishing opportunities. I hear back from these contests in the summer and early fall. In the meantime, I am working to translate the poetry into Arabic with the help of a translator. I have also developed a plan with an illustrator to incorporate illustrations in the final version of the book.


My name is Shawheen Rezaei, and I am honored to have participated in the 2015 Summer Cohort of the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Program. I graduated Harvard College in 2017 studying Economics and Middle Eastern Studies through the Advanced Standing A.B./A.M. program. The Ibrahim Program helped me decide to focus on post-conflict development research during my undergraduate studies, which enabled me to travel to countries across the world and to work with organizations like the UN and the World Bank. After graduating college, I pursued an MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge through a Harvard-UK Fellowship, worked in management consulting with BCG, conducted research in global health at MGH and now work in patient advocacy. I also returned to Harvard to complete pre-med courses through a post-baccalaureate program with the hopes of becoming a physician one day. During my free time, I enjoy traveling near and far, writing and studying poetry, biking, and learning new languages.

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