2016 Tailwind Scholarship Recipients
We recognize and congratulate these bright young Muslim students.
Facilitating Understanding and Breaking Barriers of Misunderstanding
Name Saadia Ahmed
School UMass Boston
Major Conflict Resolution
“My hybrid identity as a Muslim and as an American born and raised in the post-9/11 United States serves as the foundation for my commitment to conflict resolution and peacebuilding. As an American, I know the sheer terror that 9/11 instilled in our individual and collective psyche and the desire to regain a sense of security and comfort. As a Muslim, I know the exasperation of having our religion hijacked and used for something that was never its purpose and understand the outrage of being held responsible – in the form of discrimination, prejudice, and warfare against home countries.
And yet, the sources of misunderstanding and pain for Americans and for Muslims are actually not so distinct: they arise out of fear and trauma. So, too, are the sources for healing shared, and can be found in community and collaboration. I see my purpose as guiding members of both identity groups to realizing these commonalities, and from this basis working towards building the relationships that can mitigate and prevent violent manifestations of conflict. Through my hybrid identity and interfaith lifestyle, I strive to provide one of many emerging examples that it is indeed possible to move past fear of “the other” and replace such hostility with mutually enriching relationships.“