Provenance: Baghdad, Iraq. Learning: BS in Management, Accounting and Finance, University of Massachusetts Boston. Languages: Arabic, English. At BC Law: Middle Eastern Law Students Association Co-President, and Business and Law Society Vice President of Alumni Affairs. Best thing about BC Law: “The way student affinity groups collaborate with one another and are invested in each other’s success.” His Go-To Meal: Chipotle burrito bowl. “I build it with white rice, chicken, mild salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, and cheese.” Most important: “Always get the chips and guac.” Guilty Pleasures: “I watch reruns of Family Guy and watched the movie Unfinished Business at least twenty times this semester.”
My mom couldn’t touch me—I was in a full cast until age five to hold me together because of scoliosis. I got to travel all over for treatment, especially to England. I learned to speak English better than all of my friends at home in Iraq. I’m very privileged that I had the resources to do these things and that my family worked and accepted the idea not to give up on me.
Many times in my life I wonder if I’m doing what I really want to be doing. My mom sits me down for “review chats.” She’ll go through Socratic questioning with me and always helps lead me back to where I started. She has really helped me reflect on how I would raise my own children. You want to push your children to become who they want to become, not who you want.
“What I have done or where I am or whatI have achieved is an example of what people can do when you unleash them.”
When I’m not at school, I’m helping out with my mother’s nongovernmental, nonprofit organization, the Iraq Health Aid Organization. Our aid works in different ways to improve health and its determinants in Iraq. We partner with private NGOs in the US and provide a lot of support for economic development.
Memories and political events from back home inspired me to write poetry and spoken word starting at around age seven. My grandpa was a big poet. Much of his work didn’t get published because it was very political. I never knew him, but reading his poetry helped me get to know him. As notes on my phone, I write down ideas for spoken words, verses, or songs and send them to a friend of mine who does beats. I performed “Paradise Lost” at TEDxTeen 2010.
I want people to know that I’m a Muslim kid from Iraq. What I have done or where I am or what I have achieved is an example of what people can do when you unleash them. Give people structure and foundation and they’ll achieve their dreams. A lot of talk goes on that my country has historical conflict that will result in nothing. We are people who are systematically oppressed, but once we’re released…we become BC Law alums.