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Winter 2018/19

Afreen Ahmed

University of Chicago

Afreen Ahmed is a senior at the University of Chicago, studying Economics and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. Born and raised in Chicago, she has spent much of her time traveling, studying, and working across South Asia and the MENA region. She has worked for an NGO in Morocco that leveraged momentum through the Arab Spring movement to build political and economic rights for Moroccan women, and has also worked at national refugee resettlement agencies and philanthropic foundations in the U.S. Afreen speaks Arabic, French, and Urdu, and plans to pursue a career in political and economic reconstruction strategies for post-conflict societies. She hopes that the Ibrahim program will expose her to the ways in which social entrepreneurship and diplomacy can transform conflict and create innovative solutions for social and political problems. On campus, Afreen is the Chair of the Leaders of Color Initiative at the Institute of Politics and an editor for UChicago’s Journal of Ethnic Studies. She also serves on the Boards of the Office of Civic Engagement, the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct, the Muslim Students Association, and the Partnership for the Advancement of Refugee Rights. Upon returning to campus from the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Program, Afreen intends to create a globally-focused discussion series at the Institute of Politics, in order to foster dialogue on campus concerning the Middle East region that is more socially aware and peace-oriented.

Danya Adbil

Stanford University

Danya Adbil grew up mixed-race and intuited this sentiment early. Her summers were spent in the meadows of Iran and the jungles of Mexico, dancing between the dry desert heat of the Middle East and the humid thunderstorms of Central America. She learned to navigate the nuances of her ancestral homelands (beyond their climes alone). She felt at odds back in the San Francisco Bay Area. She pursued academia and extracurricular research that allowed her affinity for the Middle East to bloom. After attending high school in the Silicon Valley, she matriculated to the Honors Institute at Foothill College, where she also studied a full year of Persian Language & Culture. Last summer, she began an internship which actualized her: serving as a research assistant to a Stanford PhD candidate in International Relations. Applying text analysis methods to propaganda, they attempted to understand motivations for foreign intervention in national elections. She continued to cultivate this interest in foreign policy through leadership at Foothill. As Psychology Club’s VP of Finance, she led discussions on politics and the bystander effect. In response to Trump’s travel ban, she helped establish “Use Your Voice” with Nick Schafer and Liza Turchinsky. This activism club spearheaded educational resistance on campus, hosting workshops and attending rallies together. Furthermore, we collaborated with the ACLU for “People Power,” an event which explored protections of immigrants’ rights with local police departments. These initiatives united and mobilized our community. She has transferred to Stanford University to study cognitive science. She hopes that engaging with think-tanks and change-makers through ILDP will help her answer questions about how people are motivated towards action. She has a deep, personal curiosity about the Middle East because of her family’s diaspora status. Her whole life in the U.S. is derived from geopolitical conflict and ensuing immigration crises. Her curiosity is also tied to future endeavors. She hopes that through the Ibrahim Program, she can solidify her interests in the Middle East so that she may choose the appropriate path forward into foreign service.

Farbod Hadizadeh Moghadam

CUNY Queens College

Farbod Hadizadeh Moghadam is majoring in political science with a minor in honors business and liberal arts at Queens College- City University of New York. His current role on campus is as Student Governance Vice President. He has spent most of his academic career in student governance, city politics, lobbying, and academic research in the Middle East. He dedicates his involvement in politics to his roots as an Iranian-American, as he experienced conflicts and injustices growing up. He attended a Muslim private school, where he participated in Model UN and student government. In college, he won his first campaign as student President in Queensborough Community College. At Queensborough and at Queeens College he won two John F. Kennedy Leadership awards. This award was granted for his involvement in making Queensborough better through implementing improved policy. Aside from student government, Farbod also obtained a grant to conduct research on immigration and public policy in the United Arab Emirates. He graduated Queensborough with Phi Theta Kappa honors. Farbod is the founder of the start-up called Generation G, which aims to promote globalization. He hopes to attend law school for international or immigration law. He believes the Ibrahim program will give him more insight into Middle Eastern conflicts, and help him to develop leadership experience to combat the many injustices that some communities face in the United States. When he returns to Queens College he wants to create policies that would teach generations of Muslim and Jewish students the importance of collaboration over conflict.

Mahshad Badii

University of California, Berkeley

Mahshad Badii is a 3rd year student at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Political Science and minoring in Arabic. Mahshad’s interest in the Middle East originally stemmed from a strong connection to Iranian language and culture cultivated by her parents. Her areas of interest include the intersection of religion and conflict, energy geopolitics, arms control, and counterterrorism. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a J.D. and work in international litigation between MENA nations and the U.S. At Berkeley, Mahshad is President of Delta Phi Epsilon, Berkeley’s premier co-educational fraternity for foreign service and international affairs, where she previously held positions of External Vice President and Financial Vice President. She serves as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Berkeley’s Student Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, and Copy Editor of Iranian political and cultural student publication, Perspective Magazine. She utilizes fluency in Arabic and Farsi to investigate sensitive material on the Syria team at Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and competes on the top-14 nationally-ranked UC Berkeley Model United Nations travel team. As a student, she maintains a 4.0 GPA and has been on the Dean’s List, awarded to the top 2% of each graduating class, 3 consecutive semesters. In Spring 2019, she will be studying abroad in Amman, Jordan where she hopes to take on an internship in policy or international development, as well. Mahshad hopes to utilize her Ibrahim Fellowship to gain critical travel experience, build mentorships and develop strong relationships with other professionals for future work and internships in the Middle East.

Omar Al Ghusbi

American University

Omar Al Ghusbi is a first-generation Libyan-American who was raised in the conservative countryside of Maryland. Growing up in post 9/11 America not only as a Muslim-American but also as an Arab-American was a challenge, yet it was a challenge that he faced. At a very young age, he was exposed to the world outside the U.S. through many pathways. They include the yearly trips his family took across North Africa to visit family, and his father’s career at the Libyan embassy in Washington, D.C. This exposure drastically shaped his desire to continue his education and focus it around the Middle East and the problems plaguing it. He is currently in his final year of study at American University with majors in both International Studies and Arabic Studies. His major in International Studies is centered on Foreign Policy and National Security with a secondary focus in Global Security and Conflict Resolution. It also has a specific regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. At the end of this next semester he will have completed two semesters abroad focused on intensive Arabic language and cultural immersion within the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Back on campus he is a member of both the Sigma Iota Rho International Relations Honor Fraternity and the Muslim Student Association. After graduation he hopes to eventually continue his education and obtain an MBA where he can then use his Arabic language skill and his degree in International Studies to focus on assisting emerging markets across the Middle East. This he hopes will help in promoting development in the region and increase the standard of living. He is hoping that the Ibrahim Fellowship will give him yet another tool in his inventory which will help him reach this professional goal. The relationships, experiences, and knowledge that he will gain during the three-week program will be invaluable in assisting his future endeavors domestically, or a world away.

Shahrin Azim

CUNY Queens College

Shahrin Azim is an honors student at Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Arabic. She is very active in her college campus, staying involved in clubs such as the environmental club and the Muslim Student Association, and participating in programs such as the Undoing Bias Fellowship through the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding where she learned tools for nonviolent communication. She is the founder and vice-president of Feminism for All club at Macaulay Honors College where she creates safe spaces for all women to come together and explore topics around women, their rights, and their bodies. She is also a William R. Kenan Scholar which has allowed her to travel to different parts of the world like Namibia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Traveling and living in a diverse place like New York has fostered a love and appreciation for different cultures, including cultures of the Middle East. Shahrin is also the New York Regional Director for a nonprofit organization called Malikah, where she trains Muslim women in self-defense, leadership, and entrepreneurship/ financial literacy. She uses her position to empower Muslim women, who live at the intersections of different identities that face both Islamophobia as well as gender-based violence. She has initiated projects to connect with different mosques in New York and connect different communities of Muslim women. Shahrin works predominantly with South Asian and Arab Muslim women. Through this trip to the Middle East, she hopes to strengthen her Arabic speaking skills to better connect with Arab Muslim women. Shahrin dreams of working with United Nations Women. She hopes to travel the world, empowering women facing violence through policy making, skill-training, and social work. This trip would allow her to meet with diplomats, policy makers, and people from other non-profits to learn about the state of women and the Arab population in general, opening discussions about how to better serve the Arab population here in the United States. Travelling has always given her more knowledge about working in the nonprofit sector and catering to different demographics. She hopes to use the things she learns in this trip to implement in her non-profit work with the Arab community.

Avraham Tsikhanovski

Brandeis University

Avraham Tsikhanovski was born in New Jersey to a family of Russian immigrants. He attended yeshiva day schools his whole life, and spent a gap year in Israel learning religious texts and immersing himself in the country through various experiential programs. While on his gap year, Avraham interned at the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent center dedicated to strengthening the foundations of Israeli democracy. After his gap year, Avraham went on to Brandeis University, where he is a rising sophomore studying economics, philosophy and the Middle East. He is heavily involved in Jewish life on campus, as well as Student Government and Mock Trial. He is also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. In his free time he enjoys exploring the different culinary hotspots in Boston and going on road trips with his friends. This past summer he worked at an English-immersion camp for Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem. After Brandeis he hopes to attend law school and enter the world of policy and diplomacy.

Devora Chait

CUNY Queens College

Devora Chait is studying mathematics at Macaulay Honors College of Queens College, CUNY with a full tuition merit scholarship. She hopes to pursue mathematics research in Israel professionally, and is committed to promoting academic collaboration across the Middle East and the international community. This summer, Devora began to work towards this goal as a participant of the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, where she conducted original mathematics research at Rutgers University alongside budding researchers from diverse international backgrounds. Devora has studied the U.S-Israel strategic alliance as a Tikvah summer fellow, a competitive program in Manhattan that seeks to engage high-achieving students in discourse about Judaism, philosophy, and the modern world through intensive readings and seminars and which culminates in a thesis. Devora is a student leader for the Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, and in this role has worked to advance student scholarship in Judaic studies through creating student-given lectures, collaborative learning groups, and an online network to pair students as learning partners for Judaic studies. She is continuing to study the Arab-Israeli conflict in Queens College, and she is looking to gain further insight about the region as an Ibrahim fellow.

Jenail Mobaraka

University of California, Berkeley

Jenail Mobaraka is a rising Junior at the University of California Berkeley studying Political Science with an emphasis on Comparative Politics, and Middle Eastern Studies. Within Middle Eastern Studies, her main area of focus is the connection between political instability and struggles for human rights. She was born in Syria in a Syriac Christian village outside of Homs and grew up within a close Syrian community in Southern California. At Berkeley, she is the executive director of the Middle Eastern North African Recruitment and Retention Center, part of a larger multicultural coalition fostering representation and support for underrepresented students and communication with the larger campus community. In the past year she was the campus organizer for Books Not Bombs, an initiative run through the Karam foundation. In this position, she focused on fundraising scholarships for Syrian refugee students seeking out higher education and urging my campus’ administration to join the Syria consortium. After graduating she hopes to work either for a nonprofit organization focusing on assistance and development for displaced people, or in the public policy sector improving living conditions for historically underrepresented communities. The Ibrahim program will serve as the first time she is able to engage with the Middle East through her own experience rather than in a classroom setting. She hopes this lived experience will provide further context for completing her studies at UC Berkeley.

Michael Elsanadi

University of California, Berkeley

Michael Elsanadi is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic at the University of California Berkeley. Ethnically Egyptian and raised in a thriving Coptic community in Southern California, Michael is concentrating his major on religious relations and politics both in Egypt as well as Lebanon. Captivated by the varied political power and conversely vulnerability of religious minorities in the Middle East, Michael is geared towards academically, empirically, and culturally understanding the disparate pressures religious minorities face in the region. While maintaining his position on the university’s dean’s honors list, Michael is also a project leader for the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Investigations Lab. Teaching and using Open Source Investigative Techniques to protect human rights, Michael guides confidential projects regarding Syria that work to preserve, utilize, and investigate human rights violations committed by actors involved within the Syrian conflict. The topics of this research, and their subsequent investigations, can range from identifying companies associated with the Assad regime to reconstructing a chemical attack using civilian media. Aside from academics and research, Michael is additionally an editor of UC Berkeley’s music magazine The B-Side. With published articles covering subjects such as the transformation of Arab pop after the “Arab Spring” as well as the nationalist tones in Oum Kalthoum’s music, Michael has written a number of pieces that closely examine the cultural and political role of music in the Middle East. Engaged both academically and practically within his community, Michael will utilize the experiences gained from the Ibrahim Fellowship to further his thesis research on the Southern Californian Coptic Community. Additionally, shortly after the Ibrahim trip, he intends to utilize Open Source Investigative techniques to work in revealing the monetary contributors to popular news sources covering the Middle East. After graduating, Michael hopes to continue working with developing technologies to further human rights protections as well as encourage local advocacy within the region.

Rayan Alsemeiry

Yale University

Rayan Alsemeiry is a senior at Yale University studying Global Affairs and International Human Rights Law. At an early age, Rayan immigrated from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to the Phoenix Valley of Arizona. There, immediately following the attacks of September 11, his father became the target of violent threats and was forced to leave the country. Without his father around, who he has not seen in the 16 years since he left, Rayan gradually forgot Arabic and lost his ties to the Middle East. Rayan, his mother, and his two sisters spent the rest of his childhood under extreme financial instability, living homeless at various points, before settling down in the Pueblo Bonito Neighborhood of Mesa, Arizona. His ties to the Middle East, unstable upbringing, and experiences in Pueblo Bonito—where poverty rates approach 95%, a majority of his neighbors are undocumented, and crime pervades—have shaped his interests in the study of policy, law, and economics. Since coming to Yale, Rayan has sought to inform himself on issues of poverty, conflict, and social exclusion in his courses, research and study abroad, and professional experiences. Most recently, Rayan spent the summer of 2018 researching far-right, ethno-nationalist politics in Europe and, after, studying Arabic in Jordan while conducting a research internship with the Human Rights Watch Jordan Office.

Yiliany Rubio

New Jersey City University

Yiliany Rubio is an island girl from the Caribbean who loves to travel, which is one of the reasons she applied to the Ibrahim Middle East Program. She is a biology major at New Jersey City University in hopes of becoming a dentist in the future. Growing up in Union City and West New York, NJ has allowed her to connect with a multitude of cultures that have sparked her interest for traveling and getting to know other communities and cultures from all over the world. She has been lucky to have the opportunity to explore the ways in which she could help communities such as her own, and those in other countries medically and restoratively by volunteering in the distribution of food, medical and dental services and disaster recovery programs in the USA, Cuba, and Brazil. She works at Urban American, a property management company, and holds the position of Project Manager Assistant. She is a retired photographer and model, but photography and short filmmaking are still some of her hobbies. She is a member of biology and chemistry clubs and a volunteer at two dental offices in New Jersey. She decided to be a part of the Ibrahim Middle East program because of her strong interest in foreign cultures and her desire to learn about the way in which she could help improve the health, survival, and growth of communities in countries outside of the United States. She hopes to one day be able to impact and influence the world through her work and dedication to the people of the world.

Caroline Hatcher

New Jersey City University

Caroline (Carly) Hatcher is a rising senior at New Jersey City University. Here, she is a Musical Theatre major and is also a student in their Honors Program. She is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In high school, she was an AP student and a member of both National Honors Society and the National Society for High School Scholars, as well as an International Baccalaureate, for which she earned a second diploma upon graduation. During her time in all of these programs, she has had to lead her own research investigations on a wide variety of topics ranging anywhere from Inter-dimensional Physics to Aristotelian Theatre and more. She also helped to develop a program at her University to help students understand and avoid plagiarism, which included comprehensive classes, tutoring, and a short video she and other students were in. Carly has always been a strong social activist in her community, both online and in person. She is always looking for more opportunities to gain knowledge and understand the world in which we all inhabit together. When it comes to her education on the Middle East, her knowledge is fairly limited. She hopes to use her time here to gain a fundamental understanding of the many cultures prevalent, and see how they compare not only with her own culture, but also with the perception that Americans have of the Middle East. As an actor and activist, Carly plans to always use her platform as a place to speak frankly and truthfully about the world and our place in it. During her time here, she hopes to film a short documentary comparing the American perception to the reality in an attempt to bring worlds together and combat the prevalent ignorance in her country. Borders are man-made, after all.

Emily Kohn

CUNY Queens College

Emily Kohn is thrilled to be joining the 2018/19 Ibrahim Program this winter. Emily spent the first 14 years of her life in Jewish day school where she was immersed in the Jewish culture, religion, and became proficient in the Hebrew language. During these years she was taught from a somewhat biased Jewish perspective where Israel was portrayed as a nearly flawless country. However, after several trips to Israel where Emily interacted with Palestinian teens, she began to realize that the Arab/Israeli conflict may not be so black and white, and was determined to further explore the cultural, social, religious and political issues of the Middle East. This led her to study the Arab/Israeli conflict this past semester, which further sparked her passion for the Middle East. In joining the Ibrahim Program this year she hopes to continue fostering her passions for the issues surrounding the Middle East. Emily is a senior at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York where she is majoring in Music Performance. In addition to excelling musically, Emily is an academic scholar in the honors program, and has been named both a Provost Scholar and placed on the Dean’s List every college semester thus far. She has been involved in the Queens College Hillel, performing with her school’s orchestra, and various other ensembles throughout her time at Queens College. Having played the violin since age four, music is a vital part of her life, and she is planning on pursuing a professional music career in teaching and performing upon graduating from college. Additionally she is a serious photographer specializing in photographing New York City and headshots for her colleagues and friends. By joining the Ibrahim Program, Emily hopes to obtain more insight on the cultural aspects of the Middle East, which she aims to take home to her communities in New York to inspire, educate, and bring others together in musical performances, workshops and presentations at venues and organizations in the New York metropolitan area. She also views the Ibrahim experience as an opportunity to use her photography to educate others about the Middle East. The projects she plans on executing following her time on the Ibrahim Program will help her professional goals by enabling her to grow and strengthen her skills as a performer, presenter, artist, and musician, and enriching her audiences, students and communities in the process.

Liza Turchinsky

Foothill College

Liza Turchinsky is an honors student at Foothill College pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Anthropology with planned concentrations in International Relations and Comparative Politics. She holds a Research Assistant position at the Stanford University Department of Political Science where she works with a Jennings Randolph-Minerva Peace Scholar and Stanford Graduate Student to investigate issues of urban governance in the post-2003 “slum cities” of Iraq. She focuses on the effects of Ba’athist Arabization campaigns, including the displacement and forced relocation of Kurds and other minorities, on Iraq’s urban and political landscapes. She specializes in tracing the history and stories of forced migration and genocide in Kurdish and Yezidi communities from 1969 to 2003. Liza has written extensively on the socioeconomic and cultural history of Jewish and Muslim communities in Azerbaijan, and has planned research collaborations with Baku State University faculty and former Foreign Ministry officials following her September 2018 trip. She has participated in a research-intensive Anthropology field study in Ecuador and conducted ethnographic research on neo-colonialism and the effects of globalization in former Spanish controlled rural communities of Northern Ecuador. Liza serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Script, an award-winning, student-run college newspaper she co-founded in 2016. Liza received a Student Leadership Achievement Award from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges and was honored at their statewide conference. She received a Distinguished Journalism Student Award and a Journalism Leadership Award and Scholarship from Foothill College for her investigative journalism and leadership work during the 2017-18 academic year. She was also granted a Fine Arts and Communication Excellence Award and Scholarship, Language Arts Department Award of Excellence, and the Presidential Service Leadership Award in 2018. In 2017, Liza was a recipient of the Political Science Award of Excellence. Her passion for Middle Eastern studies stems from her childhood experience as a daughter of recent political refugees of Jewish and Muslim heritage. Born in California to an Azerbaijani mother and Ashkenazi Jewish father, Liza grew up dedicated to promoting cultural diversity and dialogue between her two distinct cultural and religious communities. She has a passion for interfaith dialogue and years of experience studying the origins, psychology, and consequences of geopolitical conflict and colonialism in the Middle East. She has a specific interest in the development of post-colonial social movements, comparative geopolitics, and the conditions that enable post-revolutionary peace. As a student journalist, Liza has worked to foster political engagement, education, and critical discussion of international affairs within her college community. Liza is an experienced political organizer and activist. In service to her local community, she co-founded a nonprofit dedicated to advancing justice for marginalized groups within Silicon Valley. Leading a team of activists in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union, Liza bridged barriers between local governments and immigrant communities to overturn a punitive policing policy and enact a new ordinance that protects refugees. In 2016-2017, Liza worked with a national Democratic nonprofit to conduct political research on progressive public policy and organized conferences to promote collaboration with both regional activism and policy research organizations. Liza plans to pursue a graduate degree and find a career in foreign policy research or diplomacy. By surrounding herself with scholars from vastly different backgrounds, she hopes to challenge her biases and gain nuanced perspectives on modern conflicts. She will use her skills in journalism and ethnographic research to write about her travels in the Middle East and establish partnerships for future research collaborations. She is excited to be among a diverse community of passionate students and hopes to build lasting relationships to continue interfaith dialogue and conflict transformation projects at home. Additionally, she looks forward to connecting to professors, officials, and communities she meets in the Middle East and continuing to investigate her research questions by returning to the region with newfound knowledge. She is fluent in Russian, proficient in Farsi, and a student of Arabic and Azeri. During her free time, Liza enjoys landscape and travel photography, reading at late-night cafes, and cooking kuku

Miho Carey

Yale University

Miho Carey is a sophomore at Yale University. She is half Japanese American, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up in a multicultural family, city, and school has not only taught her to love and appreciate learning about cultures different from her own but also to discover similarities and connections that bond all groups of people to one another. She is pursuing a B.A. in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, with a concentration in contemporary refugee and immigration law, while fulfilling the Arabic language certificate congruently. She has pursued her interests in this area of law through working with El Refugio and Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) of New Haven, Connecticut, the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation in San Francisco, California, and the Yale Refugee Project. Her studies in Arabic are complemented by an intensive language program in Amman, Jordan that took place last summer. This program was language focused, but also included an in-depth discussion of history, culture, politics, religion, and societal problems in both Jordan and the Middle East. Part of the reason why she decided to take Arabic at Yale was to learn more about a wrongly stigmatized culture and to make the step in an attempt to, hopefully, help to normalize something interesting and exciting like learning Arabic. At school, she is heavily involved in the Yale Refugee Project (YRP) community, mainly working in two major projects: Women’s Youth Leadership Group and the Employment Program. She started the Employment Program this past year. Its main goal is to support IRIS by providing an 8-week job training program to recently resettled peoples. We match a student with a refugee requesting this service from IRIS. Unlike the youth group, the Employment Program put students in a position of power. They now had the responsibility to tell someone they barely knew how to conduct themselves in their new home. Although I believe this project is important and effective, she also believes it can be problematic if conducted under the wrong mindset. Students often relied on their knowledge from past experience within YRP or IRIS. Many people often join this club because it sounds interesting and like a good cause; who doesn’t want to help people, right? However, in order to do this ethically and effectively, we must look at these refugees first as people. People with religions. People with cultures. People unlike our own in many ways. Throughout her childhood and college years, Miho found herself spending most of her free time volunteering with people, but if that volunteer work isn’t done specifically to support, engage, and empower the goals of those who are being helped, it can often take a toll on those very people. After the Ibrahim journey, Miho wants to conduct a mandatory workshop for all new and returning members of YRP, eventually making it available to intercultural and interfaith service groups in an attempt for ethical and effective service on campus. The goal of this curriculum would be to encourage open and meaningful relationships between people with vastly different backgrounds, in the name of collaboration and ethical volunteer work. The Ibrahim Program would help me to gain the tools necessary to organize, run, and take part in something as important as this program will be. Although she wants the Ibrahim Program to affect her life and those around her in the short term, she also hopes to carry what she will learn with her throughout the rest of her life. Her growth will be a vital skill in any field, but especially when working with international conflict, aid, and resolution. After college, she hopes to eventually work in the domestic and international service sector with those displaced and affected by conflicts in the Middle East. She wants to reiterate the idea that the U.S. is a place of foreigners and immigrants. In her spare time, you can find Miho hosting her radio show, practicing songs on her guitar, drawing, or on a walk with coffee in hand. She can be contacted at

Seth Blum

Washington University, St. Louis

Seth Blum is a Statistics and International Affairs major and Arabic minor in his senior year at Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from Boulder, CO, he builds on a passion for environmental education and policy to work on the intertwined issues of water and climate justice in St. Louis and in international forums. He became interested in the Middle East after living in Marrakech, Morocco and working for a sustainable development NGO for eight months as part of a U.S. Department of State intensive language study and cultural exchange program. After studying in Amman, Jordan in the fall of 2017, Seth plans to continue connecting research and policy through his thesis work examining the link between American ideas of water security and its poor development legacy in the Middle East to new institutions formed in response to climate change. He hopes the Ibrahim program will help him better understand the links between entrepreneurship, policy, and advocacy in the Middle East and connect him to changemakers pushing the political and environmental needle. Seth leads international projects for Youth Climate Lab, a social enterprise building partnership that amplify climate action. He formerly worked at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Global Climate Change as an Annenberg Fellow with the Council of American Ambassadors. Seth is a 2017 Boren Scholar and a 2018 finalist for the Truman Scholarship. He enjoys rock climbing, exploring different parts of St. Louis and DC, and hosting people for dinners.
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