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A Mind Without Borders

To Hannah Marie Farhan ’16, the whole world is home.

Photograph by Adam DeTour

Student Snapshot

Provenance: Farhan’s parents immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia, after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. “They lost everything. They came with my dad’s student visa and a suitcase. The mantra was education.” Learning: BS in history, technology, and society, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011; MEd in elementary education, University of Missouri–St. Louis, 2013. Languages: Farsi, English, French. Pre-Law: For Teach For America, taught 2nd and 3rd grade French immersion classes in Kansas City Public Schools. At BC Law: Clough Center academic law fellow; president, International Law Society; coordinator Haiti Spring Break service trip, March 2014; research assistant to Professor Kent Greenfield, working on corporate citizenship. What Her Friends Know: “I am one of the clumsiest people on the planet. The last time I rode a bike, in one trip I crashed into a wall and an electric fence.”

When you have been given something, it is no less than a duty to give back as much as you can. I come from a family of immigrants, and there is that sense that service is not an option, it’s part of what makes you a human being.

Home has always been about the people, not the location. I’ve spent time with family in Toronto, Munich, London, and Paris. I’ve lived in northern England, New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, and any one of those is just as much home to me as Atlanta. That international sense of the world is something very important to me.

“I must be the only person on the planet whose parents thought it was a great idea when I switched from pre-med to history.”

You find what you love and you find what drives you. I must be the only person on the planet whose parents thought it was a great idea when I switched from pre-med to history.

The best year of my life before coming to BC was studying medieval history in Sheffield, England. I spent my Easter holiday in the British Library doing research, and we went on field trips to York to see the Viking ruins and help with the excavations.

Working for Teach For America, I loved my students, but I did not enjoy the act of teaching. I spent hours fighting with the legal department of the school district for better special education services for an autistic student, and I decided fairly early on that I was going to go to law school afterwards.

We live in a day and age where even the national scale isn’t really sufficient for most issues any longer. So in the long run I see the International Law Society as a forum for people in different substantive areas of law to come together and broaden their horizons and as an avenue for the affinity groups to find common ground. There is one thing we have in common, that we all come from somewhere else.

The work that I really want to do is public sector work. I want to have that sense of purpose that I had while I was teaching. And with a field that’s as driven by people and society as law, there’s no reason for me not to have an even larger sense of purpose here.