AUIS at Harvard | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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AUIS at Harvard

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 17:15

Student blog by Hersh S. Abdullah

It had always been my dream to go and visit the Harvard University. This dream was different from the others because I thought it would be almost impossible for me to go Boston, since I am from Kurdistan, which is far away from Boston. However, not only did this dream come true, but other things also happened that really went beyond my expectations. 

Last summer, I applied for a summer program called Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) funded by the US State Department. I got accepted! The program offered some things that I had not even thought about. Going to the States was something I expected to happen, but did not know how, when, and why. Going to Massachusetts and visiting Harvard was something quite difficult, but still I didn’t consider it impossible.

However, giving a speech in Harvard in front of two Harvard professors, four Mercy Corps directors, and 18 students from 16 different countries was not something that I had ever thought about! My dream was to go and only see Harvard University, one of the most famous universities in the world, but something happened that went dramatically beyond my expectations. As I said, not only I went to Harvard, but also I gave a speech there about the History of 1988, the Year of Kurdish Genocide.

Not only that, but I gave a presentation at Portland State University as well! What was very appealing about Portland State was that all of my audience were Americans who knew almost nothing about Kurdistan. I was very pleased because I told Americans who I am and who my nation is and where my country is. Most of the students who attended my presentation were students in the Portland State University.  Plus, there were two professors. Here's a picture of a letter by one of the student who attended my presentation. She was also one of my RAEs in Portland.

I also met some politicians who have high positions in the US government. One of them was the Senator Jack Reed, who was very friendly and willing to share his experience with us. Also, he was enthusiastic to listen to our questions. I got a chance to talk about what happened in 2003 in Iraq and asked him questions because he was one of the few senators who went against the Iraq War.

There are many more things that are worth mentioning, but I do not want take the time of my readers. But I will say… my Summer Program (MEPI) should be called Life Changing Program because it has obviously changed my life!