Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

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Fatema Osman: Applying My Diverse Background To Help Others

"I’d like to help promote social justice, health reforms, and the benefits of a pluralistic society. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to know my purpose in life. Philosophy has taught me to look for any object or being’s purpose by looking into their unique characteristics."

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Bashir Ahmad: Fighting and Faith

“If you’re afraid of getting hurt, afraid of losing, afraid of dying, you will not be able to commit yourself to any offense, any technique that is required for you to defeat your opponent. While I’ve seen and experienced a lot, as part of the U.S. Army and now an MMA fighter, my faith, discipline and hope have always been at the core.”

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Naseem Kaduuh & Bayan Jaber: A Conversation on Identity

"We have a lot of the American traditions like Christmas. Even though we’re Muslims we still celebrate Christmas and that’s like a big thing in my family. But even at the same time, I feel like we’re a very American family, but very Lebanese at the same time."

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Afaf
Afaf Ahmad: A Voice for The Voiceless

"The voice of the voiceless is the most important thing. People cannot have the guts to go out and say what’s going on. Yes, we live in a country that gives you freedom of speech that you miss in your own mother country. And it’s really sad that my own people try not to support you."

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Roya Naderi
Roya Naderi: Giving Back Where It Counts

“We have different ways of serving these refugee populations, and it’s working with people on the ground.”

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Fariha Chaudry
Fariha Chaudry: We Are The Same, Yet Different

“When I went to Haj, I loved being able to see people from every background, age and skin color, and even people with different views of the same religion.”

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Shadi Hossam: Cultivating Leadership For The Next Generation

"My father came to America barely knowing any English. Imagine being in a world not knowing anyone or the language, and you have to start making a living. He has seen the best and worst of life and he has taught me all these things so that I won't go through the suffering he did."

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CKG-Aber
Aber Kawas: Giving Back to Something Greater Than Myself

"Whether it’s with a student, a passerby, or my closest friend - I hope that I can always bring forth good words and positive energy to another person. They may not remember every word but I hope they remember the connection that we felt between one another."

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Becker
M-Baqir Muhyedeen: An Iraqi American’s Journey

"Being born first generation, son of an immigrant, Arabic family, you can sense there is some sort of identity crisis going on. Labels build barriers. We are all human."

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Ariane
Ariane Rahim: Taking The Lead

"This has been the hardest year for me since my father has passed away. It was just like one decision after another. You just gotta survive. I’m understanding a lot about myself and about us and about Afghans and about our culture, our traditions, our background, our history. so many things I wish I could talk to my dad about as well."

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CKG-Dalia
Dalia Elsayed: Translating My Values Into My Work… A Social Worker’s Perspective

"People often ask me how I can be so stressed and depressed at times and still be able to maintain a smile on my face and treat people with respect. My answer is that I'm blessed in so many ways that I try to never take these simple blessings for granted."

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Yasmin
Yasmin Mandviwala: A Personal Insight On Success

"If you maintain a humble attitude, constantly learn from others around you, and always put out the best quality of work possible, the rest will follow. Find your passions. Figure out what types of roles, work environments, industries, etc. inspire you."

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Emil
Emil Aldaddah: Linking Diversity and Inclusivity

"If you really have open communication with someone, and talk about the specifics, you'll find that at the end of the day you both want the same thing."

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CKG-Valeria
Valeria Cueva: Living Life With Gratitude

"After 6 months or so after my brain surgery, I felt that I wasn’t happy. I’m proudest of the person I’ve become. I think that I’ve been through some challenges that changed my life and having that life experience is priceless."

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TahanieOmar
Tahanie Omar: The Power in My Voice

"I knew that I have more to that. I knew that something bad like this to happen to someone like as traumatic, there has to be a reason for this. I could use my voice to help someone else who has gone through it."

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MikeJaber
Mike Jaber: A Gym Changed My Life

“Everything happens for a reason, so stay strong, stay positive and keep moving forward. I promise your life has something better and life changing waiting for you.”

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News Updates


MALA Brings StoryCorps to Benedictine MEPI Students

MALA and StoryCorps came to Benedictine University to record, archive, and preserve the stories from the university's MEPI Program. All stories are archived and preserved with the Library of Congress. MEPI works across the Middle East , and North Africa region partnering with civil society organizations (CSOs), community leaders, youth and women activists, and private sector groups to advance their efforts to improve their communities.

Aug 19, 2016

TEACH by Participant Media in Chicago

MALA, in partnership with IL Humanities Council, presents the critically acclaimed film TEACH by Participant Media. Directed by Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim and hosted by Queen Latifah.

Aug 19, 2016

MALA Receives “Illinois Speaks” Grant Through IL Humanities Council

Using the humanities as tools to stimulate discussion, experiences are created across Illinois through programming, events, and grant-making to engage a diverse public on ideas and issues that matter.

Aug 03, 2016
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