Speeches Shim

August 11, 2020

As the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was beginning to launch attacks on Kirkuk City, Amina* and her family fled and settled in the nearby city of Mosul. Amina enrolled in the electrical engineering program at Mosul University with hopes to work in engineering to support her family, but the subsequent occupation of Mosul by ISIS delayed her studies for more than a year while she was displaced, until after the terrorist group was defeated. When she returned, Mosul University’s College of Electrical Engineering building was still standing, but reeked of gasoline-- a reminder of ISIS’ failed plans to burn it down. “We suffered a lot. But after a lot of suffering from ISIS in Kirkuk and Mosul, I managed to graduate,” Amina said.

June 18, 2020

Zainab was 14-years-old and living in Syria when she dropped out of school to get married, and live with her husband and his family. “Two years later, clashes started in Syria. My husband decided we should leave Syria and so we came to Lebanon. A new version of my life began. Finally, I was living alone with my husband and my son.” Zainab was excited for this new chapter, but she quickly realized that things would not be any easier. Zainab got pregnant with her second child and experienced many health issues that she still battles. Her health problems were compounded by the social disparities that Syrian refugees encounter in Lebanon. Zainab felt isolated and without a support network.

June 15, 2020

Advancing international religious freedom is a major foreign policy priority of the United States in order to reduce levels of religious persecution, bias and discrimination, reduce religion-related violent extremism and terrorism, and track and prevent potential mass atrocities through early warning systems.

May 28, 2020

Mohamad Ghalayene, a 19-year old living in northern Lebanon has always been eager to learn more, but was never afforded the option. He says, “Now through this grant, I finally got the opportunity to attend online training sessions and tackle [educational] topics to make use of my time during home quarantine.”

May 27, 2020

In Libya, children of ethnic minority groups begin school at a significant disadvantage. The educational system is almost entirely based in the Arabic language, but many families speak only their native languages at home. In the classroom, elementary school students struggle to learn both academic concepts and the language in which they’re being taught.