Celebrating Syria’s Future Leaders‏

Dear Jusoor Family:

Last Saturday, May 18th, was a very proud day for Jusoor.  15 Syrian men and women graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology.  What a joyous occasion. These students, like the thousands of other Syrian students who are graduating this spring from universities around the world, worked tirelessly.  Conditions facing Syrian students could not be tougher.  In the case of the 15 women and men at IIT, they transferred in the middle of their education from Syrian universities to a completely new system, they had to work tens of hours each week to support themselves, and they had to take networking to a mastery form rarely seen in order to land internships and jobs.

Syrian students, we salute you!  Your determination to complete your education and prepare yourself to lead the future of our beloved country, despite the hardest conditions imaginable, is extraordinary. You give us hope and we are beyond proud of you.

Let’s take a look at some of the remarkable achievements of our IIT graduates:

  • They are starting jobs at companies like Goldman Sachs, Intel, Google, IBM and Nokia.  WOW.  What a list.  Even graduates from top universities in the US don’t find jobs with such great companies.  This is determination at its best.
  • The awards they have received since arriving on campus two years ago include:
    • Being invited to deliver a TedX talk on campus – entitled  “Drone Delivery – Closer than you think” …. WOW
    • Being invited to deliver the student address at graduation
    • Making the Dean’s List (6 of our graduates)
    • Meeting President Clinton as a reward for becoming finalists in the Up to Us competition
    • Receiving the IIT Presidential Scholarship
    • 1st Place for Best App Idea, Microsoft Chicago Hack
    • 2nd Place for Monkey Bars Hackathon
    • Elected President of the Undergraduate Business Council

In their own words, the students reflect on their university experiences:

  • “My greatest achievement at IIT was studying at IIT. By coming from Damascus University and studying, graduating from IIT, I know that everything is possible and we can do everything as long as we work hard for it.
  • “My time at IIT was not only about education. It was about learning how to be a leader, a team worker, a woman in technology and a part of a very diversified group that taught me a lot about the world. Being a women in the technology field helped me gain powerful advice from powerful women in technology and to pass the small experience that I have to high school girls.”
  • “I had so many achievements during my 3 semesters in IIT that I am very proud of, but the one I am most thankful for is the friendship that I gain with many of Jusoor team members, IIT faculty and the Syrian group. it made me feel that I am home.”

We are deeply grateful to IIT for the incredible support they provided to these students — ranging from helping them adjust in their first days on campus to guiding them through the recruiting process.  In particular, Vice Provost Gerry Doyle, along with Megan Mozina and Gladis Herst have been heroes to all of us and the students throughout the past 3 years, making this program a reality.

And finally, and most importantly, thank you to everyone in the Jusoor network who has supported these students.  So many Syrians around the world donated their time, money, and expertise to support, mentor, coach, and inspire these students. What an incredible community.  Together we made a difference in the lives of these 15 students and their families (who the students are now supporting).

To the graduating students:  Now it’s time to think about what you can with your education for your brothers and sisters in Syria.  How you can support hundreds and maybe thousands of other Syrians over your lifetime with the power the education you have received. Let’s get started!

The Jusoor Leadership Team

Editors note:  This post originally appeared as an email from Jusoor; we are pleased to share this message with our readers across some 125+ countries.

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