Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 10:45
Meet Karam Bahnam and Aya Khidir Abbas - the Spring 2019 Numerus Group Scholars.
Announced on August 3, 2018, the Numerus Group Scholarship provides financial support to new and existing students at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). Numerus Group is an Iraqi-owned and Dubai-based investment company founded and run by the Shanshal family. Scholarships are awarded based on need and merit, and cover tuition, fees, housing and books.
Karam Bahnam is from the Nineveh Plains - a region of Iraq known for its religious and ethnic diversity. That diversity was a target for fighters affiliated with the so-called Islamic State (IS) who kidnapped Karam along with his brother and father in 2014. They managed to escape their captors and headed for the city of Sulaimani where Karam enrolled at AUIS and is now Karam an International Studies major.
“After my experience, I started to think of ways I could help others who have suffered from terrorism, especially minorities,” he said. “In the future, I hope to be involved with international NGOs and work with our government to help those people.”
Aya Khidir Abbas is a first-year undergraduate student at AUIS. Aya was living in Rumadi, the capital of Anbar province, when IS attacked the city in 2013. Her family fled to Baghdad where she struggled to finish her final year of high school due to what she described as the shock of what was happening. Now in her freshman year, Aya says her outlook has become more optimistic. “I feel energetic and and enthusiastic about accomplishing little goals now and bigger plans in the future,” she said.
Aya also credits her family’s support as a factor in her renewed perspective. “My family is the biggest inspiration for me. They have always supported me and pushed me toward a bright future.”