Being a refugee is often described as feeling like a fish out of water. It demands everything and more to survive, let alone thrive. Mahmoud Khalil says he’s had his share of ‘out-of-water’ experiences, and his story is an exceptional one of perseverance.
A refugee of Palestine in Syria and then a refugee in Lebanon, Mahmoud exclaims that forced migration is among the more harrowing experiences. He is ever conscious of the obstacles he has had to face; however, he always maintained education in the forefront. During his time in Syria, he finished high school and was also an eligible candidate for Engineering school.
Refugees have always been the most vulnerable to extreme situations of poverty and struggle, more so if they are children. Mahmoud says that his time in Lebanon was one of equal strife as he had to work to support himself and afford rent; luckily for him – his life changed with Jusoor.
This non-profit for education noticed the effort Mahmoud was putting in and supported him further through a scholarship to one of the most prestigious universities in Lebanon. This was not something Mahmoud claims to have expected and definitely something he wishes for everyone in his situation.
Mahmoud’s ideology around education isn’t the typical one. As a child of experience, he realizes that it is of critical importance for development and growth – especially in children. To draw from his life, he focuses his efforts on ensuring that he can do his best for the refugee children out there, that need him more than ever.
Education is a vital aspect in the shaping of a mind. Mahmoud advocates that its effects are bountiful as when you nurture a mind, you also open doors to better living and societal impact. The failure of which can lead to an extremist mindset which can severely affect an individual’s personality.
In keeping with this fervor, Mahmoud is an active part in the lives of 4000 students. His role was instrumental in founding the education program that schools these refugee children in Lebanon. Mahmoud made sure he left no stone unturned in his endeavor, and so – his presence in the Global Action Week for Education was striking. Alongside Global Partnership for Education’s CEO, Alice Albright, he ensured his views on change were noted by the Global Campaign for Education.
Mahmoud took it even further by being a part of the United States Institute of Peace exchange program in Dharamsala for mentorship under the Dalai Lama.
A key takeaway from his time with the Dalai Lama was that he noticed the unity in the Tibetan refugees under his leadership, which did not exist for the Palestinian or Syrian refugees.
“Through my experience with the Dalai Lama, I was able to better myself in order to better help those who are in vulnerable situations and to push for reform through the field of education.”
It is clear that Mahmoud Khalil was destined to endure what he has to become what is he today. A leader in the making for all those looking for a beacon of hope. His story begets inspiration and his passion inspires the world to follow.
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