Mahmoud '15 COMMUNICATIONS MAJORHebron, Palestine
Mahmoud, an international student from Hebron, Palestine, can only be described as inspiring. In 2012, Jabari gave a TEDxTeen Talk titled Bringing Peace with More Reporting as a Global Teen Leader through the We Are Family Foundation, where he narrates his experience of growing up as an activism journalist in a city plagued with conflict.
Before coming to Champlain in January 2012, Jabari reported for World Youth News and Al-Jazeera Talk, and was elected Youth Mayor of the city of Hebron from 2005 to 2008, where he led many social initiatives as he now does as a student leader at Champlain. His peers describe him as earnest and benevolent; he seeks out countless opportunities to tell his story and advocate for social change. I heard many interesting stories while interviewing Jabari about his transition from Palestine to Champlain College.
In the summer of 2010 I attended a youth leadership retreat hosted by Miracle Corners of the World at Champlain College, which led me to apply.
Ever since I was 10 years old, I wanted to come to the United States because I was interested in politics and wanted to create more opportunities for my people. The government schools in Palestine don't prepare students for school in the U.S., so I taught myself English from the time I was in sixth grade. After the Youth Leadership Retreat at Champlain, I knew it was the starting point for a transition in my life.
For the past year, I have worked in Champlain's Emergent Media Center (EMC), which enabled me to bring the game Breakaway to my homeland in the summer of 2012. Breakaway is an online soccer game promoting teamwork and gender equality. At one of the summer camps I brought the game to, boys and girls played soccer together on the same field for the first time. The EMC has been very supportive of my interests and beneficial to my studies as a communications major.
In April I attended the Clinton Global Initiative University's annual meeting in St. Louis for a weekend after creating an action plan for poverty alleviation in Palestine.
A group of students and myself, with the help of BYOBiz director Robert Bloch, have developed Abraham Market International, an online content hub that sells handmade goods from Palestine and tells the stories of the artisans dedicating their lives to making them through journals and multimedia. This will provide an opportunity for Palestinian people to raise their standard of living and educate their children.
Based on my experience, I think youth from all cultures and nations are able to overcome political, religious, and cultural borders, and become unified based on their common dreams: to create a world in which they'd like future generations to live.