Leigh Murphy, McCormack Graduate School |
May 13, 2015
Maha Thaher left, with classmate Parfait Gasana
She will be a force in whatever worlds she inhabits
Congratulations to Maha Thaher:
Recipient of the 2015 Conflict Resolution Convocation Award
The first, and a lasting, impression of Maha Thaher is that of tremendous intellectual energy. One might say that she is obsessed with learning. Her curiosity does not wander; it is focused. In and out of class her questions have the sharp edge of clarity. Each question builds on what she has learned and points toward yet deeper knowledge. Her master's project studied stereotypes held by the Palestinian community about those living in refugee camps. The goal of the research is the creation of a training program to combat those stereotypes in children. Choosing that research question speaks of Thaher's political sensitivity and commitment to social improvement. It also exemplifies a set of leadership skills that derive from her ardent desire to master parts of her world. She will be a force in whatever worlds she inhabits.
This is how I felt you will be from the day you were born. I can remember how your eyes were looking at things since your age was just days, as if you were trying to see what is beyond the physical item in front of you. I remember when you was a young child 5 years old and came to me saying: I want to write a word on the teachers day, you told me: I will tell you the words and you write, then I kept your words exactly as they are “Thanks to teacher, thanks to school, thanks to the education department, I love you all”.
All over the years your teachers were proud of you and gave you extra responsibilities because of your commitment towards education and extracurricular activities. Moreover, your feelings about the social responsibility of each of the Palestinian people made you an active person in your community to support other young people and advocate for developmental causes in Palestine.
I will never forget that day when you won the scholarship at the YES program and became one of the first groups to travel to the States when you were just 15 years old. This was as a reward for your hard work of 9 school years. You and me went through a big challenge to send a young girl to a very far country by herself staying with a strange family and deal with a different culture. But you proved that our decision was the right one.
I feel proud of you when you were brave and responsible when you accompanied me in conducting the community classes because the schools were closed by an Israeli military order. Then you were ready also to walk with me with other children towards the schools that were surrounded by the Military tanks in order to prove that schools should be open and children should have the access to their schools as a basic children right. And we did it and succeeded to make the Israeli military forces away from the schools doors.
In your university, your teachers always were proud of you, your commitment to your study didn’t prevent you from participating in several community activities to help your people in different ways.
My daughter, my special friend, I am not surprised you won this award; I can see how you make it. I have to say thank you to UMass Boston that give you the opportunity to learn and explore more opportunities in how to help your people and even more than your people in the world. Thank you to UMass Boston that acknowledged your talents and hard work.
And a big thank you to YOU ..just because you are my daughter.
I love you .. الله يرضى عليكي