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Reflections: Haya Al-Thani from GU-Q

It’s graduation season! To honor our #Classof2019, we asked them to reflect on the last four years and the impact their experiences have had on them. Haya’s story is truly an empowering one. Check it out:

My time at Georgetown University in Qatar has been challenging yet thrilling and active. Coming into my first year, I did not expect the immense personal growth that I have now come to associate with GU-Q. It was a subtly natural growth, stemming from curiosity and questioning the environment around me - and myself. In my first year, I participated in the Doha Youth Forum and the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice where, along with a group of other students, I drafted the Youth Declaration, drafted by young people with resolutions on how to prevent crime. The Youth Declaration lead on to become an integral part of the Doha Declaration, a United Nations declaration that called for the integration of crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider UN agenda.

At the age of 18, seeing the hard work of a group of young people’s being recognized and becoming part of an international declaration inspired my future passion for International Politics.

My voice being heard by global leaders and contributing to a conversation regarding key global issues can only be described as empowering. Attending plenary meetings about emerging transnational crimes and cyber-crimes sparked my love of international diplomacy. Being able to participate in a discussion about female human trafficking led to me realizing that female inequality has many faces, and made me all the more determined to fight for justice.

I knew that if I was able to contribute to these conversations at the mere age of 18, my potential was limitless: I could do more, and I should make the most of any opportunity I had. So I began searching for these opportunities, and my journey began. I ensured every step taken towards the completion of my undergraduate degree was a step towards achieving my goal of continuing to be a valued voice in my country’s narrative, and helping to solve problems. I knew if I wanted to be able to learn about the humanitarian impacts of war, I had to delve into War Studies. I knew this world was transforming at a pace we often struggle to keep up with, and so I had to learn about this transformation and study the future of international conflicts. I also knew I had to study policymaking, the art of international negotiations and foreign policy analysis. I combined all of this with the study of Islam & the Arab world because I wanted to be able to apply all that I learned in International Politics towards this region.

When studying at QF, I often found myself looking around and seeing young, passionate Arabs moving towards being the vehicle for change in region, and moving us towards being a generation of equity, equality, liberty and justice. I knew then that I was not alone in this drive - that this was a movement from the youth, by the youth, and for the youth.