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Alaskan Student's Big Impact on Small Host Community

Alaskan Student's Big Impact on Small Host Community

January’s Star Student of the Month has been quite the super star in many other Ayusa news stories. He has truly been making an impact in his host community and surrounding area. Haytham, for Gaza, is an Ayusa student with the YES program and is living in Haines, Alaska.

Haytham has been very active in his community and the impact he has made has been recognized by many. He was the winner of Ayusa’s International Education Week (IEW) 2013. During IEW, students share their cultures with their host communities. Haytham presented at his school and local library about Palestine’s history, holy places, traditions, and the political issue with Israel. His presentation was covered by local press and radio. Haytham stood out from other great entries by his maturity in speaking about his country and global issues. His teacher even noted that Haytham’s presentation “really made the students in my class think seriously about global issues they had never learned about. The students said they learned more in his presentation than they had all year. It had that much impact.”

Haytham was also recently joined by two fellow YES students at the University of Alaska Southwest to speak and answer questions about “translocal identities and cultural connections.” Haytham, pictured right (photo credit: Melissa Griffiths), along with the other two students answered many difficult questions about the Middle East, perceptions that each have on Americans, and their experience here in America. When asked about how people in the Middle East view Americans, Haytham maturely said “Now, you see, as I know that most Arabs hate Americans — why? Because they think that Americans hate Arabs…this exchange program makes really good effect in changing minds and ideas from Americans.” Haytham also had the opportunity to be introduced to Alaska’s House of Representatives during one of their sessions. Pictured above, he stands with Alaska State Senator Dennis Egan.

Congratulations to Haytham on being selected Star Student of the Month and for the impact you have made on Haines!

To read the Ayusa IEW article about Haytham, click here.

To read the original Juneau Empire article wirtten by Melissa Griffiths about Haytham at the University of Alaska Southwest, click here.

To watch the House of Representative introduction, click here.

If you would like to nominate your Ayusa student as Star Student of the Month, please send a written story and pictures to news@ayusa.org!