A Global Scholar Helping Refugees in Lebanon
Mohamed Bughrara is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Global Scholars Program, and a double major in Global Studies and Law, Economics & Public Policy. Bughrara was born in Egypt, though his family is originally from Benghazi, Libya. They moved to the United States when he was five. Bughrara came to UW Bothell as a transfer student, and cites IAS faculty member Ben Gardner as a major influence on his experience here. “His teachings on the history of African colonization have bolstered my dreams for de-colonization, and my imagination for its methods” says Bughrara.
Global Scholars is a new University of Washington Bothell initiative, co-led by School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and Global Initiatives. It builds a learning community of students from diverse backgrounds to focus on questions of travel, global citizenship, and community engagement through study abroad and internship experiences. As part of Global Scholars, Bughrara began working with a non-profit organization in Lebanon, giving aid to refugees and internally displaced groups. While still in Lebanon, he made time to talk with us about what he’s doing and how he got there.
What prompted you to become a Global Studies major?
My passion for geo-politics has always been always in the forefront due to my various travels.
What parts of your studies are most important to you?
In addition to my two majors, I am also pursuing a minor in human rights. Human rights is important to me because it affects each individual across the globe. Comparatively speaking, life in America may be considered exceptional from a human rights standpoint. I believe this gives us the responsibility to spread peaceful ideologies to locations less fortunate.
What has the experience of being a Global Scholar been like? How do you see it adding to your studies and life goals?
The Global Scholar experience provides the tools and mindset you need to travel to places you never thought were possible. I highly recommend all future students purse this program if they plan on traveling in their future goals. Global Scholars has enhanced my love and passion for humanitarian aid and has given me a platform (due to the resources I've collected from my travels) to implement projects from abroad. Global Scholars has been essential in propelling my global experience in Lebanon by giving me the skills to adjust to remote locations.
I understand that you are currently working with an organization in Lebanon. What is the organization? What do they do?
Blue Mission is an organization in Saida, Lebanon that aids displaced civilians from Syria. The two projects that we we're currently working on are Karama and the Early Years Education program (EYE). Karama is a project that sends our medical staff out to shelters on a daily basis to aid displaced civilians in need of medical attention. We also hold sexual education workshops with the mid-wives.
The EYE program offers youth education for children ages 3-6 to get them prepared for school, since displaced and refugee children are not allowed to go to public school until age 7. We provide services for them to enhance their education. It is directly affiliated with the Global Scholars program.
What is your involvement with Blue Mission?
I was the Fundraiser/Fundraising Officer and handled a number of administrative tasks such as interviewing volunteers, prepping the Early Years Education Program (EYE), and aiding the nurses and mid-wives with anything they needed.
How does this connect with your studies?
Understanding the capacities of local and global systems to adapt and respond to crises that are also simultaneously local and global is everything in Global Studies. I feel like I’m experiencing and actually working towards what my major represents. It’s quite remarkable to see your work manifest as reality before you.
What is your goal after graduating from UW Bothell?
I will continue my work in local politics and pursue a master’s degree in public policy.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Don’t let the negative narratives of media and stereotypes blind you to the amount of beauty this world holds. There's an enormous number of people doing inspirational work. Why not you?