Salaam! I have been told several times that I am pretty bad at first impressions, don’t know if that also pertains to written communication. I guess we will see!
I have been counting down the days till this program starts, literally!
Having been born and raised in Saudi Arabia, I’ve been constantly surrounded by individuals who have similar backgrounds and worldviews to mine. Even when I lived outside my hometown and moved to New York for graduate school, I preferred to live with a Muslim roommate. I had the weirdest thoughts that non-muslims would not understand my culture, personal reserve, the way I dress and the fact that I don’t consume alcoholic beverages.
After one year of experiencing life in New York City, I no longer held a limited mind set that I must live amongst Muslims and I am began to jump up and down at the opportunity to participate in an Interfaith Residency Program! Since this is my first post, I’d like to provide you with a brief introduction about myself.
My name is Norah “which means light in Arabic” and I am a Palestinian refugee “Yes my passport says that” living currently in Saudi Arabia. I have never been to Palestine due to the conflict there “yet” but it is the place that I call home. Many of my friends ask me how can you refer to a place that you have never been to as your home; well, it is complicated. However, being raised and fully educated in Saudi Arabia, has had a great effect on my identity. As a Muslim, I was fortunate to study Islamic studies throughout my education in Saudi Arabia, which strengthened my faith. After finishing my high school, I pursued my undergraduate studies in Nursing. Though I really enjoyed my nursing journey, I never worked as a nurse upon graduation. Instead, I started a social enterprise focused on environmental sustainability with my two best friends. While pursuing my passion in sustainability I decided to attend Columbia University and to peruse my graduate studies in Sustainably Management.
Back to our main topic here, although the first week of this program is not over yet, I can feel and see that this experience will be the highlight of my life. Meeting the other participants and the advisors made me realize that there is a divine reason for my presence here… and finding it will take me to places I never imagined existed.
Peace and Love,