Ghewa Srour

2015 MCN Campaigns | Undergraduate University: Lebanese University | Place of Origin: Lebanon

My MCN Story:

"In 2013, I got abused and divorced at the age of 21. For a Middle-Eastern girl, divorce is so hard for her and her family. But, I decided to be strong and changed my life for the better despite knowing the odd. Also, I wanted to inspire other women to be strong, refuse abuse, and raise their voice as well. Following my own advice, I began to rebuild my life.

My journey started in Morocco when I attended the “First Alumni Enrichment Seminar” in the Middle East by the U.S. Department of State. There I met Executive Director of the Millennium Campus Network (MCN) Sam Vaghar, who shared his story and told us about the mission of MCN. Intrigued by what he said, I applied and attended the Millennium Campus Conference in 2015 (MCC 2015) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York; and also attended MCC 2016 at Howard University in Washington D.C.

My time with MCN increased my desire to connect with and help other people who are in difficult positions and want to live a better life."

What I Care About:

"After getting married, I joined my husband in Sao Paulo, Brazil. From the very first days of my arrival, I noticed that most kids did not go to school -and even if they did, they attended poor public schools- because of the high expenses of private schools.

I wanted to continue practicing Portuguese while I was Brazil, as I was not yet fluent; and as a result I started to have conversations with kids and teenagers in the local community. I asked them what were the main causes for them to not attend school; and sometimes I even talked to their parents about this when they joined their children in selling goods on the streets. The responses I got made me want to start my own project to help uneducated children get a chance to go to school and receive an education.

I plan to do more research for my project. In addition, I want to identify an organization that is focused on the same goals as me so that I can partner with them and work with them to help underprivileged kids get an education and figure out their own dreams."

Student Leadership:

"The ability to listen and remain calm are two of the most important qualities when it comes to student leadership. In order to understand others’ points of views and the causes & circumstances that led them to behave and/or think in a certain, a leader must master the ability to listen to others' opinions without jumping to conclusions. When I was the president of the Access Alumni Association in Lebanon, I had to keep everything under control so that all events and activities were executed smoothly and successfully.

I remember when I had to organize a field day event for more than 800 students with more than 20 teachers, 200 volunteers and around 20 members from AMIDEAST and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, and although more than 8 years have passed, I still remember that day very clearly. In the early hours of the morning, while I was delegating tasks to volunteers, one of my volunteers became angry when he found out that he was leading an activity that he didn’t want. He was very upset and began shouting. I took him aside and talked to him to figure out what made him so upset. When he explained why, I politely asked him to calm down and promised that we would find a solution to the issue. After some discussion with the other volunteers, we were able to find someone to switch with him and the issue was remedied. If I, as a leader, had not been composed in that situation and was just simply upset at his insubordination, the situation could've gone a whole different way and nothing would have been solved. That's why I always remember to this day that composure and patience is so important in a leader when handling any sort of conflict."

*The "quotes" above have been edited for concision and clarity.