Ahmad Yassir

My name is Ahmad Yassir, born in Tripoli, Lebanon in 1997. I am proud of my overall disposition such as being born in the late nineteenth, being the youngest of six children, and the opportunities that I got to continue my education. My first passion was drawing, where i competed against myself to finish one sketchbook every day. In my nine years in Tripoli, my reputation in that one school that teaches English was all about my talent in Art and academic excellence. I even won multiple awards for Arabic Calligraphy and Art. After a failed attempt for all my family members to settle in Abu Dhabi, I went back to Lebanon, as it was Beirut this time. I experienced the capital of Lebanon, and got driven into its capitalistic rather than its hipster side. My interest in running clubs, and extracurricular activities played a major role in my enrollment into the United World Colleges program. United World College offered great education, and a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with one person’s personal passions and interests. In addition to giving its students access to colleges in the United States. I am currently studying Public Action, Visual arts, and Education at Bennington College. I’m focusing on designing courses that tackle social issues with peacebuilding, visual arts activities, and in an open discussion format.

إسمي أحمد يسير، مواليد طرابلس، لبنان عام ١٩٩٧. أنا فخور بمكانيتي العامة مثل العيش في اواخر التسعينات، وكوني الأسخر بين ستة أولاد، وعلى رأسهم الفرص التي حصلت عليها لمواصلة درستي ضمن ظروف عائلية صعبة. شغفي الأول كان الرسم. حيث تنفست مع نفسي لإنهاء كراسة رسم كل يوم. . خلال تسع سنوات في طرابلس ، كانت سمعتي في تلك المدرسة التي تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية تدور حول موهبتي في الفن والتميز الأكاديمي. حتى أنني فزت بالعديد من الجوائز للخط العربي والفن. بعد محاولة فاشلة لاستقرار جميع أفراد عائلتي في أبو ظبي ، عدت إلى لبنان ، كما كانت بيروت هذه المرة. لقد عشت عاصمة لبنان ، وحركت في الجانب الرأسمالي بدلاً من الجانب المحبب. لعبت اهتمامي في إدارة النوادي والأنشطة الخارجة عن المناهج دورا رئيسيا في التحاق بلدي في برنامج الكليات العالمية المتحدة. قدمت كلية يونايتد وورلد التعليمية تعليمًا رائعًا وفرصة رائعة للتواصل مع الاهتمامات الشخصية لشخص واحد ومصالحه الشخصية. بالإضافة إلى منح طلابها إمكانية الوصول إلى الكليات في الولايات المتحدة. أنا أدرس حاليا العمل العام ، الفنون البصرية ، والتعليم في كلية بنينجتون. أنا أركز على تصميم دورات تعالج القضايا الاجتماعية مع أنشطة بناء السلام ، وأنشطة الفنون البصرية ، وفي شكل مناقشة مفتوح

How important are the identities that are forced upon us at birth? Since the beginning of time, all creatures on Earth have been involved in different sorts of conflict due different interests, needs, and entitlement. On a planet where people are different and diverse, why is it important to fight for the rights of the labels we identify with?

Before getting accepted to the United World College in Mostar, I was very engaged in all kinds of discussions and debates. Most of those discussions revolved around politics, society, religion, and history. However, this teenage sense of enthusiasm I had towards these topics has decreased over time. I’ve become more open to other fields of life, such as art, music, and natural sciences. I am still interested in politics, leading both the Model United Nations CAS at UWCiM, as well as our Moonwalk Innovation group - a program created to engage people in trying to solve global issues. However, during my time at UWC I realized that no matter how much the world promotes human equality, we still see new conflicts appear frequently and wars are expanding every day, and all it does is proving human nature. All humans have opposing interests and goals, and there are enough people out there who are willing to reach for power and fight for their interests for this to change. Humans are not born equal, not with the same opportunities or the same amount of money, therefore humans are not equal The main reason as to why I am not as patriotic as I was before is because the international diversity of UWC made me question the beliefs that family and society had imposed on me. I asked myself: what if I was born as a different gender or in a different country, what if i had a different skin colour, came from a different family. I knew back then that all the thoughts and facts I used in my arguments were invalid because they are influenced by the things I was born with, not the things I learned from living in a global, well-reflected environment. I didn’t want to be like the people who believe in white supremacy because they are born white, not like the nations who want to change their laws and system based on a religious majority, not like people who are against LGBTQ+ rights because they were born straight. I didn’t want to pretend like issues do not exist just because they don’t affect me personally. And what this meant was for me to stop being a patriot, mentioning the name of his country in every sentence he says in a discussion. I became aware that labels such as nationality, sexual orientation, race, and so on, does not define me or anyone else. I became aware that there is so much more to a person that the one trait they can’t control. There was one main issue on which my perspective changed substantially, namely Syrians in Lebanon. I was very biased towards the idea of immigrants and refugees in my country. Claiming that Lebanon is a better country than Syria, that Lebanese people are less conservative and the society is more open, and that all of this was slowly taken away with the refugees. After living at UWC with people from more than 50 different nationalities, I realized that the borders and countries are just made up as political propaganda that defines terms to separate us from other nations. For some national leaders to gain and maintain power and control, they create stereotypes and prejudice. They create an “Us” based on the notion of a “Them”. Moving to UWC and living in its incredible community made me change my perspective away from the influences I had grown up with. It made me question and re-evaluate my beliefs and ideologies. This new and different way of thinking reshaped the person that I am today, making me more open-minded and aware. I now make up my opinion based on what I learned from my own analysis of what I experience and what I learn, giving me more confidence in who I am in the global society, and what I believe.

TEACHER AND SOCIAL WORKER-SSMT

In the winter of 2018 I worked with the Syrian Smile Makers team that is based in Syria but currently functioning in Turkey. Their aim is bringing a smile back to Syrian refugees within the community through rehabilitation and providing humanitarian assistance to war victims. They are also specialized in education for Syrian children refugees that helps integrating them within the Turkish schoolish system. For the first month I was attending their supplement education course, to become more familiar with their classroom environment and dynamics between the students and their teachers. I became more familiar with their schooling structure, and got to know some of the students that I will be teaching. I became familiar with the building and the spaces that I could use, in addition to meeting with their current teacher, logistics and media volunteers. I took their theatre room since it had the biggest space that could accommodate the activities of the course, and I was supplied with a projector, speakers, 6 tables, 30 chairs,and 2 boards. The remaining supplies such as drawing books, coloring pencils, flip chart sheets, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, glue, and other assisting material were provided by the teacher. Briefly this course is designed for motivating students and making them more aware about their education. I found that working with Syrian refugees would be a great learning experience for me, in addition to being able to contribute by bringing positive change to a group of children that are suffering from armed conflict, displacement, and disorientation. I started my course on the 22nd of January, which is the date when their midterms break started.

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TEACHER & SOCIAL WORKER-AHLIAH SCHOOL

One part of my work was in the classrooms, teaching a theories of knowledge course to 2 classes grades 11 and 12, observing the classroom dynamic between students from different grades and different teachers, assisting in selected biology and arts classes, and substituting for teachers to have discussions with students. The theories of knowledge class was a good platform to have discussions with students about things they found more important to discuss in school, in addition to learning a course that makes them think more about knowledge and the world. Observing classes was a great experience for me to be in a classroom and playing both roles of being a student and a teacher. I saw some limitations by the teachers, and the students response to everything withdrawn by the teacher. Substituting teacher gave me a bigger chance and more opportunities to practice my teaching skills, and reach-out to the students about social awareness topics. I had presentations that were scheduled in a period where more than two classes can attend. My first one was about applying to colleges and universities abroad. Telling them about my experience in the pursuit of education, moving from a public to a private school, United world college, and then Bennington. I explained the criterias of looking up colleges and selecting the ones they wish to apply for, by showing them Bennington College’s campus, classrooms, and all the things that made me apply and go there. I also had additional information on multiple countries, different systems, required documents. My second presentation was on academic honesty and tackling schoolwork. It was a type of education awareness on the responsibilities of a student and the structure of the curriculum. I had a different approach when I am doing this social work than an instructor at school, with my display of graphics and portray of ideas and suggestions to have a better experience doing schoolwork and being committed to it. The main reason why I did this presentation is due to my belief on the lack of orientation students receive on their required work and lack of skills taught by schools in Lebanon. My third presentation was on racism. Students in Lebanon are influenced by their peers and the society, for them making racist jokes is just a part of the conversation. I approached them by talking about disney movies, and the disney princesses until we started talking about Aladdin, and what it meant to them to be displayed like this as Arabs in a Disney movie? It was a discussion on a topic that is very necessary to have with students in school, because tackling social dilemmas that are found in the community is school’s job as well. The third role I took was in the extra-curricular activities there. I directed a group of students who are participating in the Model United Nations Conference organize by the Lebanese American University. MUN demands public speaking skills, knowledge in its rules and procedures, and further research on the topics held in the councils. I created a syllabus for the training that is pretty in reverse to how it's done anywhere else, and with more visual display of their required material. I led a group of students who are participating in a program run by the UNESCO on the integration of refugees. Aiming to make a two minutes video on the topic. Injaz is a virtual company program that aims to give students the opportunity of starting their own company, divide roles, sell virtual stocks to get their capital money, make a product that they have to promote for it and sell it. I participated in before as a public relations and marketing manager. I joined the injaz group they have this year as an instructor, i shared my experience with them, a lot of tips and suggestions regarding their work and how they can win the competitions.

WORKING MATERIAL

Arabic Translator at Red Cross Croatia

Syrians seeking refuge in Europe Pass through Vukovar in Croatia, which is their last checkpoint before accessing countries that are offering them asylum. I was working with the head doctor on translating Arabic to English and vise-vera, in order to facilitate for better communication between the staff and the patients.Working on site also gave me the opportunity to help on field, which is inside the camp to help with translation for security forces as well. Since the crackdown on peaceful protests in March 2011, over 190,000 men, women and children have been killed. 11.6 million people have fled the violence in Syria, a staggering figure almost three times the population of New Zealand. What started as a peaceful cry for freedom has descended into a devastating civil war. With an ever-rising death toll and millions left without food, water or healthcare, the people most harmed by the fighting are innocent civilians. Every day around 5000 people, mainly women and children, flee their homes in Syria. Four million are being sheltered by Syria’s five neighbouring countries who are struggling to cope. With no end to the conflict in sight, these numbers will increase. This is the worst humanitarian crisis of our lifetime and the international community cannot continue to turn its back on Syria’s refugees.

Student Mentor at Special Needs School Mostar

It was a great experience where I was on the board of organizing sessions for 10 children who have special conditions, taught them how to draw and color, and taught them how to say some phrases in English. The need for teachers who have both the knowledge and the ability to teach special-education students is more critical today than ever before. A national push to take students with disabilities out of isolation means most now spend the majority of their days in general-education classrooms, rather than in separate special-education classes. That means general-education teachers are teaching more students with disabilities. But training programs are doing little to prepare teachers; Fair’s experience is typical. A 2009 study concluded that no one explicitly shows teachers how to teach to “different needs.” Because of time constraints, the many academic standards that must be taught, and a lack of support, “teachers are not only hesitant to implement individualized instruction, but they do not even know how to do so,” the report stated.

Web As Artistic Platform

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