عەبدوڵڵا زەین ئەلعابدین – فێرخوازی زانکۆی ئەمریکیی سلێمانی لەپرۆگرامی ئامادەسازیی ئەکادیمی، روی کردە زانکۆی ئەمریکی بۆ خوێندن چونکە پێی وایە دەتوانێت لێرەوە ئاڵوگۆڕێک ئەنجام بدات، ئەو وایدەبینێت زانکۆی ئەمریکیی سلێمانی ئەو شوێنەیە کە دەتوانێت بەئازادیی تەواوەوە قسەی تێدا بکات، دەڵێت: "زانکۆی ئەمریکیی سلێمانی سەرلەنوێ کەسێتیم بنیات دەنێتەوە". عەبدوڵڵا دامەزرێنەرو بەڕێوەبەری جێبەجێکاری رێکخراوی "لەگەڵمان خزمەتکە" یە کە بەئامانجی بنیاتنانەوەی کۆمەڵگەی عێراقی دامەزراوەو خەریکی کارکردنە لەسەر چەندین پڕۆژە لەناوچەی جۆراوجۆری عێراق، لەڕێی تیمی خۆبەخشەوە. ئەم رێکخراوە، وێڕای بایەخدانی بەبواری خوێندن و فێرکردن، کاری بەهاناوەچون و پەرەپێدانی کۆمەڵگەش دەکات. حاڵی حازر عەبدوڵڵا بەکۆمەکی گروپەکەی، خەریکی کارکردنە لەسەرپڕۆژەیەک بەناوی "باچر نتخەڕەج"، بەئامانجی دابینکردنی جانتاو کتێب بۆ فێرخوازانی موسڵ، لەو چوارچێوەیەدا رۆژی ٥ ی تشرینی یەکەمی ٢٠١٧ لەموسڵ، رێکخراوەکەی "لەگەڵمان خزمەتکە" فێسیڤاڵی "گەڕانەوە بۆ قوتابخانە" ی بەڕێوەبرد، لەمیانەی ئەو فێستیڤاڵەدا داوا لەفێرخوازان و کەسوکاریان کرا بێن بۆ وەرگرتنی سەرجەم ئەو پێداویستیانەی کە بۆ دەستپێکردنی ساڵی نوێی خوێندن پێویستن. حەسەن ئەحمەد یەکێکی ترە لەفێرخوازە لێهاتوەکانی زانکۆی ئەمریکیی سلێمانی – بەشی ئەمدازیاری، لەگەڵ رێکخراوێکی ناحکومیی ناوخۆیی کار دەکات بەناوی "رێکخراوی بنیاتنانی تواناکانی فێرخوازان و گەنجان لەپێناوی پەرەپێدان و پێشخستندا – YSAD" کە کاردەکات بۆ گەشەپێدان و پێشخستنی گەنجی عێراقی بەرەو ئەوەی ببنە سەرکردەگەلی داهاتو، جگە لەوە تا ئێستا بەشداریی کردوە لەخاوێنکردنەوەو سەرپێخستنەوەی زیاد لە ٢٠٠ قوتابخانەدا، هەروەها بەشداریی کردوە لەگەڕاندنەوەی زیاد لە ٢٠٠٠ کتێبدا بۆ کتێبخانەی گشتیی زانکۆی موسڵ. لەدوایین سەردانیدا بۆ موسڵ، ئەحمەد بەچاوی خۆی هەمو ئەو وێرانکاریانەی بینیوە کە بەسەر شارەکەدا هاتون: "دوای سێ ساڵ، ئاخری لەمانگی تەمموزی ٢٠١٧ دا بۆ یەکەمجار سەردانی موسڵم کردەوە، کاتێک لەهەمو لایەکەوە شەقام و ئەپارتمان و خانوە وێرانەکانیم بینی، خەمێکی قوڵ دایگرتم، خوازیاربوم بەهەر شێوەو رێژەیەک بێت هاوکارییەک بکەم لەپێناوی بنیاتنانەوەی شارەکەمدا، بۆ ئەوەی بەشێویەکی باشتر بکەوێتە بەرچاو". دوجار ئەحمەد سەرنجی چوە سەر رێکخراوی "YSAD"، لەپێناوی بنیاتنانەوەی شارەکەدا چوە پاڵ رێکخراوەکە. رێکخراوە ناحکومیەکان خۆیان کۆمەکی خۆیان دەکەن، بەڵام پێویستیان بەدستگیرۆیی و کۆمەکی تریشە بۆ پەیوەستبون بەکۆمەڵگەی نێودەوڵەتییەوە. حەسەن کە خۆی خەڵکی موسڵەو دەتوانێت لەزمانی ئینگلیزییەوە، هەروەها بۆ زمانی ئینگلیزی، وەربگێڕێت، بڕیاری دا لەو بوارەدا ببێتە کۆمەککار: "زانکۆی ئەمریکیی سلێمانی فرسەتی فێربونی زمانی ئینگلیزیی بۆ رەخساندم کە زۆربەی هەرە زۆری خەڵک خوزیارن فێری ببن". حەسەن هانی فێرخوازانی زانکۆی ئەمریکی دەدات کە ببنە کۆمەککار لەو بوارەدا ، هار کاتێک و لەهەر شوێنێک کە توانیان: "هەر کەسێک بتوانێت ببێتە یارمەتیدەر لەگرێدانی ئەو رێکخراوە گەنجانییە ناوخۆییە ناحکومیانە، بەرێکخراوە ناحکومییە بیانیەکانەوە، بەکەسێکی مەزن و رێزدار دەدرێتە ئەژمار". عەبدوڵڵا و حەسەن خوازیارن فێرخوازانی زانکۆی ئەمریکیی سلێمانی، بەهەر شێوەو رێژەیەک کە دەتوانن، بەشداریی بکەن لەکاری خۆبەخشانەدا.
عبد الله زين العابدين طالب في البرنامج الأكاديمي التحضيري في الجامعة الأمريكية بالسليمانية، انضم إلى الجامعة لأنه يعتقد أن بإمكانه إحداث تغيير هنا، إذ أنه يعتبر الجامعة المكان الذي يمكن أن يتكلم فيه بكامل الحرية، حيث قال: "إنها تعيد تشكيل شخصيتي". عبد الله هو المؤسس والمدير التنفيذي لمنظمة "تطوع معنا"، وهي تهدف إلى إعادة بناء المجتمع العراقي، حيث تعمل على مشاريع عديدة في أنحاء مختلفة من العراق، وذلك من خلال فرق تطوعية، وبالإضافة إلى اهتمام المنظمة بمجال التعليم، فهي تتناول ايضاً العمل الإغاثي والتنمية المجتمعية. ويعمل عبدالله حاليا وبدعم من فريقه على مشروع يطلق عليه اسم "باجر نتخرج"، الهدف من المشروع هو توفير الحقائب والكتب للطلاب في الموصل، وقد استضافت منظمته "تطوع معنا" مهرجان العودة إلى المدرسة في الموصل في 5 تشرين الأول 2017، حيث تم من خلاله دعوة الطلاب وأولياء أمورهم للحصول على جميع اللوازم التي يحتاجونها لبدء العام الدراسي. وهناك طالب آخر اسمه حسن أحمد، وهو طالب في قسم الهندسة في الجامعة الأمريكية بالسليمانية، يعمل مع منظمة غير حكومية محلية تسمى "منظمة بناء قدرات الطلبة والشباب للتنمية والتطوير – YSAD"، وهي تعمل على تطوير الشباب العراقي لتجعل منهم قادة المستقبل، حيث ساهمت الى الآن في تنظيف وإعادة تأهيل أكثر من 200 مدرسة، كما ساهمت في استعادة أكثر من 2000 كتاب إلى المكتبة المركزية لجامعة الموصل. في زيارته الأخيرة للموصل، شاهد حسن ما حدث للمدينة من خراب ودمار: "عندما زرت الموصل للمرة الأولى منذ ثلاث سنوات، في تموز 2017، كنت حزينا جدا لرؤية الشوارع والمباني والمنازل المدمرة في كل حدب وصوب، كنت أرغب في المساعدة بأي قدر كان لأجعل مدينتي تبدو في شكل أفضل"، وانتبه إلى وجود المنظمة "YSAD" فانضم إليها من أجل إعادة تأهيل المدينة. والمنظمات غير الحكومية تدعم نفسها بنفسها، إلّا أنها تحتاج إلى المساعدة لتتمكن من التواصل مع المجتمع الدولي. أما حسن الذي هو من أبناء الموصل، وقادر على الترجمة من والى اللغة الإنجليزية، فقد قرر المساعدة، وقال: "لقد منحتني الجامعة الامريكية بالسليمانية فرصة لتعلّم اللغة الإنجليزية التي يرغب معظم الناس في تعلّمها"، ويدعو طلاب الجامعة الامريكية إلى المساعدة متى وحيثما تمكنوا من ذلك: "مَن تمكن من المشاركة في ربط تلك المنظمات الشبابية المحلية غير الحكومية، مع المنظمات غير الحكومية الأجنبية، يعتبر عظيما ومقدَّرا!" يحث كل من عبد الله و حسن طلاب الجامعة الامريكية في السليمانية على المساهمة في الاعمال التطوعية بأي شكل كان.
Abdullah and Hasan are the two AUIS students from Mosul, who are working to gather AUIS students to help rebuild the education system. Abdullah Zainulabdeen is a student of the Academic Preparatory Program, he joined AUIS because he believed that he can make a change. To him, AUIS is a place where he can speak his mind, “it reshapes my personality”. Abdullah is the founder and CEO of Volunteer With Us, an organization that aims to rebuild the Iraqi society one city at a time. The organization works on many projects across the country through teams located in different cities. In addition to education, their work also deals with relief and community development. With the support of his team, he is currently working on a project called “Tomorrow, we Graduate”. The goal of the project is to provide bags and books to students in Mosul. They hosted a Back-to-School festival in Mosul on October 5, 2017, and invited students and their parents to receive school supplies. . “We want to share hope with one thousand orphans in Mosul,” he said, “so we took the responsibility and have accepted all the challenges to go forward with this festival.” He urges students to support their campaigns either through volunteering with the team and donating money, or simply spreading the word by sharing their posts on social media. Hasan Ahmed is a senior engineering student at AUIS, working with a local NGO called Youth and Student Association for Development (YSAD). The organization works on developing Iraqi youth into future leaders. So far, YSAD helped clean and rehabilitate over 200 schools. They also helped restore over 2,000 books at the central library of the University of Mosul. On his recent visit to Mosul, Hasan saw what the city had become: “When I visited Mosul for the first time in three years, in July, I was very sad to see devastated buildings, houses, and streets everywhere. I wanted to help with anything to make my city look better.” Hearing about YSAD’s work, he joined their effort in rehabilitating the city. The NGO is self-supportive and needs help in reaching out to the international community. Hasan, hails from Mosul and is able to translate in English, he decided to help. “AUIS gave me the chance to learn English which most people wish to learn,” he said. He calls for AUIS students to help where they can, “If anyone could help in connecting those local youth NGOs with foreign NGOs, it would be great and appreciated!” Both Abdullah and Hasan urge AUIS students to contribute in any way they can. Follow the Volunteer With Us Facebook page to find out how.
It was December 20 when I published an article on the AUIS website promising to bring The Arranged to the stage. At that time, I had not written a single word of the play. I was afraid that I would not be able to keep my promise, but as soon as I saw my article published on the website, I started writing The Arranged. “Are you still awake?” asked my mother when she woke up for Fajir prayer. That was the question my mother asked me every single morning for two weeks. During those two weeks, I was awake until 4:00 am every night, doing nothing but writing the play. Was that all I did? Of course not! The second week of my winter break was the same story, re-writing, re-writing, and re-writing The Arranged. Several times, I time changed almost every single scene of the play. Luckily, I wrote the whole play during those two weeks. After that, I wondered if I could call myself a playwright. “Of course, not.” I told myself, as I knew there was still a lot that I had to do to be considered a playwright. “I don’t like this play, but I love it,” was the first sentence I heard from Peter Friedrich, the head of AUIS Drama and Film, who was the first person who saw and read the play. Thus, I was encouraged not to quit, but work hard to make The Arranged happen. Friedrich was the one who inspired me to achieve what I have achieved so far. After Friedrich, The Arranged cast was the second group of people who supported me to be where I am now. Obviously, I would be selfish if I gave the whole credit of The Arranged to myself. The cast members were the ones who were very influential to bring the play to stage. Anytime I saw how enthusiastic they were about the play, I could imagine how successful itwould be. I never felt tired or bored working on the play, despite of the limited time we had to prepare and the number of classes and assignments I had. Was I the only one who was so busy? Well, of course not. It was the same story for every single member of the cast and crew. It was inspiring to see the cast members running to B-B1-11, trying not to be late for the rehearsals right after they finished up with their classes. No matter how tired they were and how many classes they had, and how a long day they experienced, they didn’t feel tired once the rehearsal begun. April 19, after I saw giant posters of The Arranged all around campus, I realized that the play was worth much more than the time and effort I had devoted. Just by looking at the posters and reading the words, “The Arranged, by Mahdi Murad,” I totally forgot all the difficulties I had faced so far. Last year, almost at the time, there was a similar poster hanging at the same place where The Arranged poster is. But that poster was completely different. It read, “Noor, by Akbar Ahmed,” and I was one of the cast members. For this year, it said, “The Arranged, by Mahdi Murad,” and I am the playwright. What a wonderful feeling! The premier of The Arranged brought all sorts of feelings to my life. It was a day when I cried, laughed, shouted, and clapped. It was great to see how a group of talented students worked with my script and showed every single word I wrote in ways that I had not even thought about. All I can say now, after the first show of The Arranged, is that I owe such a group of talented actors and actresses so much for their support and for so clearly and remarkably showing what I have put on the paper. Moreover, the entire cast and crew owes gratitude to the audience. It was outstanding to see not only the seats but also the stairs booked and buried by people. So, on behalf of the crew, I thank everyone, students, faculty and staff members, who attended the opening night of The Arranged. Last but not least, I thank everyone who helped us stand in a position where we are now. Thank you for your support that encouraged us to think of what will our next projects be, even before the closing night of The Arranged. I am so happy to invite the AUIS community to the second performance and the closing night of The Arranged on Monday, April 29th. I look forward to seeing the theater as full of people as it was for the premiere.
Student blog by Zanwer Hasan, vice president of the Engineering Club The Engineering Club arranged many activities throughout this semester such as projects, workshops, competitions, and internships. In the previous semester, our engineering students visited Malia Group’s construction site of Magma Square Mall. This summer, the Engineering Club and Mr. Arsalan Anuar, Site Manager at Malia Group, organized internships for two sets of five students. The interns had the chance to apply their theoretical knowledge into a practical environment. They learned that while constructing an infrastructure, project management is vital to completing the work efficiently with good quality. Mr. Arsalan shared two important lessons with the students: how to manage a project, and, more importantly, to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest technology. From Mr. Amr Zuhr they learned how to use levels and how to use the tools for surveying as well as engineering knowledge outside of the main project such as building roads. Additionally, they learned how to make estimations and how to use tools in the lab, better cementing their theoretical knowledge. While the students gained a lot from this internship, they still have much to learn from experienced professional engineers but should not fear putting their best foot forward and to make mistakes while learning. The interns visited the construction site again in September to see the project’s progress. All interns will be provided with a certificate of completion. For those who are interested in an internship in the future, stay alert for announcements from the Engineering Club. Quotes from the participating students: “It was an opportunity for me as a student to gain practical work experience in the field of engineering, and to apply the theoretical parts of engineering I have learned in college into the real world. Also, it let me overcome the fear of not having enough knowledge to work and interact with professional engineers." - Lavin Hassan Othman "Working with the Malia Group was one of the most productive experiences I have had so far. We learned in a month what we could have learnt in almost 3 years. We got to learn what working on a construction site looks like, and how to deal with people that you work with, and most importantly, how to manage things and keep them all in order."- Hona Bestoon “I have learned two main and great parts: the first one is how I could manage a project, mainly by being a good manager and to not show your muscles to the workers. Second, the most important one was a moral lesson, “Please, as an engineer, do not try to hide your information from the others."- Brwa Mohammed “We've spent most of the time with Mr. Amr, he was from Akre. We were basically shown everything from designing and building the foundation of the buildings, to testing the concrete used in the project. I've learnt a lot from them, and with Mr. Amr we even talked about things outside the project, like how they build roads and how to use levels and tools to measure the areas we build on.” - Basta Seerwan “It was really good and helpful for me. I have leant many things about foundations, surveying, concrete, post stationed, total station. And they helped us a lot by allowing us to participate in their work.”- Lelo Khaled “This is my first internship and it was more than great. It helped me to understand the importance of the material I am studying and how it applies to the reality. Saying thank you is not enough because you gave us the opportunity to participate.”- Basman Najdat “My experience at Malia Group was beneficial in many ways. For the first time since I’ve started studying Engineering I was able to see the theoretical part of my classroom lectures come to life. I saw how different parts of a building are constructed; foundations, columns, girders, slabs, walls, and the list go on. I was taught how to calculate estimations for concrete, steel, stair cases, tiles, and foundations. I learned how to level and use total station (which I had never heard of prior to the internship). I was taken to the lab where I saw how they test the strength of concrete cubes. It was a great experience and I learned a lot!” - Soma Jamal “With spending hours and hours under the sun you get to learn how to deal with life in a more mature way. Meeting new people, indirectly learning how to manage a construction site, enhancing team work ability and practically applying what we have been taught in the classrooms were truly a life changing experience.” - Mohammed Badeea
Amal, an AUIS student from Baghdad, discusses her transition from living at home with her family to her new life as an AUIS student in Sulaimani. Her honest account sheds light on the struggles of students living independently for the first time and the joys of ultimately finding a home away from home.
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!
The Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) Workshop was a seven day workshop organized for the first time in Cairo, Egypt at the Wadi Environmental Science Centre. It was organized by IndyAct partnered with 350.org, GCCA, DEMENA, and CAN. The aim of the workshop was to empower participants to be influential climate movement leaders in the Arab region and to build their capacities by teaching them new strategies to effectively involve in the climate movements. At the conference, we learned how to both assemble local grassroots movements and raise awareness of the local residents about climate change in their countries. It was a selective workshop that 20 applicants were accepted out of a pool of 500 applicants in the Middle East and Northern Africa based on their extensive experience in the environment and climate change movements. Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) was launched prior to the UNFCCC COP18 Doha negotiations, and it was established to create a wide movement to solve climate change crisis throughout the Middle East and North Africa. During the workshop there were many knowledgeable facilitators from different countries, such as U.S, UK, Lebanon, and including Egypt who are strongly engaged in the climate environmental movements. Also, it is worth mentioning that diversity was one of the strengths of the workshop that most of the environmental activists had come from different countries, such as Iraq, UAE, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritania, Algeria, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, and Bahrain. Although many people in Iraq applied to the workshop, I was the only candidate chosen to attend. I participated as a student at The American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUIS) and as a Development Club member. Eventually, Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) was launched and the participants were selected as the National Coordinators of (AYCM) for their countries, and the workshop culminated with giving the participants certificates for their accomplishment to continue their role as the National Coordinators in their countries. Now my role as the National Coordinator of AYCM in Iraq is to bring youths together from different parts of Iraq and establish AYCM Iraq, which will take a powerful and a crucial role in the climate movements and mobilizing communities in the Arab region and outside, so those people who are interested in working and collaborating with AYCM are more than welcome to join us by filling out the online application.
I participated in the International Institute for Political and Economic Studies (IIPES) at Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH), in Chania, Crete, Greece this summer. Throughout the two-week course, I successfully completed a challenging academic and leadership development program. Through the program – which included academic sessions, educational travel, and various academic and cultural activities – I learned a lot about various cultures, values and institutions. The program included several courses, conferences, and presentations that were great experiences for its participants. I represented Iraq on the cultural presentation day and spoke about life in Kurdistan, its culture, traditions, historical places, occasions, and people. It was one of the most beautiful moments during the program and forever for me. It was a great honor for me to talk about Kurdistan to people from more than twenty three countries around the world. I am so grateful toward the IIPES for giving me the opportunity to introduce Kurdistan as a new Iraq, where people face a great economical, educational, and social developments unlike the other Iraqi provinces. I was able to reach many people from various countries around the world who were not familiar with what I said about Kurdistan, and some of them did not even know who Kurds were and where Kurdistan was. "Iraq is a dangerous country, there is always car-bombing and killings, there are problems between Shiites and Sunnis and they are killing each other every day. If a foreigner wants to visit Iraq, he or she will absolutely be killed, and the U.S. invaded Iraq only for the benefits of oil," were the only words I have heard from the participants about Iraq during the program. The participants knew nothing more than what the so-called media brought to their eyes about Iraq. Fortunately, I had a chance to tell the participants the truth about the situation in the various provinces of Iraq, especially Kurdistan. It was so difficult for so many participants to believe that there was a secure region, Kurdistan, in Iraq where all Iraqis, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunnis, Shiites, Muslims, and Christians could walk around, go for picnics, and have parties together. After all, I was so happy when several of the participants who were scared not only to visit Iraq, but to mention its name promised me to visit Kurdistan whenever they got a chance. Moreover, living with people from more than twenty three countries around the world enhanced my understanding of various parts of the world, their cultures, values, and societies. It was great when we all studied and debated issues such as, politics, history, religion, and economics that touched each and every single of us very differently. My life dramatically changed through IIPES. It was an experience that gave me exactly what I dreamed of and more. IIPES showed me what and how important living and working with a group was. It was an experience that gave me the inside track to improve my leadership skills and develop any career very successfully. I earned the ability to know other people, listen to them, understand them, and communicate with them. It is worth mentioning that the program was more special for me, as one of the AUIS students, than any other participants as I had a chance to take classes with Dr. Joshua Mitchell, the former chancellor of the AUIS. Dr. Mitchell taught us political economy in a way that inspired all the participants by his knowledge. The words, "you are so lucky and AUIS must be a very prestigious institute for having such a wonderful professor like Mitchell," were the words I heard from the participants almost every day. As an AUIS student, I am so grateful toward all the support that Dr. Mitchell has provided for all of us, AUIS students, so far. I hope to see him at AUIS again.
A Life Changing Conference. I have been writing this sentence over and over again because I cannot find a suitable alternative to describe the experience. My mom has worked for women for 24 years, and she has always told me to “never give up on the thing that you can't go a day without thinking about.” My mum used to tell me that because she knew I was interested in knowing women’s issues around the world. Last year I heard about Women2Women, an 8 day conference in Boston. A friend of mine went there in 2011 and when she came back, I saw the changes that the conference did to her, in addition to the good things that she told me about it. When I got accepted with my friend Rawaz, we felt lucky because we knew it is going to be a great experience. However, on my way there I was thinking to myself “will I be able to mix with more than 80 young ladies from all over the world? Will I be able to be in the same room with a stranger roommate?” Yes, I was able to do it. When I went there and saw all of the girls, my feeling of being worried changed to being happy. My roommate was a Chinese girl who was really smart, beautiful, inspiring, and so were all the other girls. In the day time from 8 am to 9 pm, we attended lectures about different topics, such as women power, understanding the media, the basics of public speaking, the art of the difficult conversation, bullying, harassment, women making changes, and many other topics. They also took us around Boston; we also went to Harvard University which was amazing because I wanted to see it for a long time. At night, all the girls gathered together to talk about our cultures, languages, countries, personal stories, everything that got us to know each other more and more. The one thing that was interesting about gathering is that every time we got together, I heard a new story about one of the girls that was about her life, what they went through in their lives, the difficulties they faced, and many other things that affected me positively. Now, I see people in a different way because I know behind everyone there are many stories. Everyone’s story is different but similar in the same time. On the last day everyone was crying because we were that close to each other. I don’t cry easily, especially in front of people, but I found myself crying because I really wanted to stay with them and because I was good friends with so many of them. After the conference ended, I stayed there for two more months. I went to New York, Virginia, Washington DC, South Carolina, and California. I enjoyed my time so much. In the end I just want to say I’m still in touch with all of the girls, and the Women2Women conference and the whole trip was a life changing experience.