NAAP Arab-American Scholarship Past Winners
The NAAP Arab-American Scholarship was designed to continue the legacy and purpose of former college students who founded the organization. Our roots as an organization are grounded in student activism, and this Scholarship – crowd-sourced and funded by the community – is one way we can fulfill our promise to empower & support Arab students across the nation. NAAP Scholarship recipients embody NAAP’s organizational philosophy and 5 goals. NAAP’s vision is a prosperous and influential Arab-American community that is connected, mobilized, and empowered throughout the national network. Outstanding student leaders like Amal, Bader, Tina and Mohamed help to realize our mission, to the benefit of our Arab-American community and our wider American and global communities. Congratulations to Amal, Bader, Tina and Mohamed!
The NAAP Arab-American Scholarship is administered by CAAP – the Center for Arab-American Philanthropy, the only full-service Arab-American philanthropic institution operating in a community foundation model in the country. Founded in 2001, the Network of Arab-American Professionals (NAAP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, volunteer-based organization dedicated to the development of a prosperous and influential Arab-American community connected through our national network.
To make contributions to the scholarship fund, please visit our scholarship page.
2018-2019 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship Recipient
Ghada Morrar is a current graduate student at DePaul University, receiving her Masters in International Studies. Upon graduation in the summer of 2019, Ghada plans on working in the non-profit field, focusing on her passion of helping communities that have been devastated by conflict and war, and continuing her grassroots organizing work.
Ghada has been a proud organizing member in the Chicago area since 2015 working with several non-profit organizations over the years. She has learned a lot from those who have been actively involved in the organizing grassroots work in Chicago, and remains inspired to this day by their passion, hard work, determination, and commitment to bettering the communities in, and around, the city. In the summer of 2016, she held an internship as a youth counselor, working within the Chicago Arab community. That summer Ghada also graduated with her Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science with a concentration in International Relations from East-West University (EWU). During her time as an undergraduate, Ghada worked as the Teacher’s Assistant to the Director of the Business Department. After seeing a need within the university for student cultural engagement, she helped establish the Student Activities Committee, and chaired as the President of the committee until graduation. Ghada planned, organized, and held events that raised cultural awareness on campus, especially regarding Arab, Latinx, and African American cultures. She is very proud of how those events helped bring students together, exposing students to similarities and differences within their cultural and political experiences. Ghada worked in the Development Department of EWU after graduation, assisting with grant writing, fundraising dinners, and various programs. During her time in the department, she also oversaw EWU’s Student Ambassador Association, developing programs and events with the students that would become implemented at the university. Ghada helped develop the university’s student led Take Back, Give Back Initiative, a non-violence program addressing Chicago gun violence, supported by Congressman Danny K. Davis. Ghada currently works at DePaul University as a Graduate Intern in the Center for Students with Disabilities Department, and is considering pursuing a second masters in psychology, focusing on trauma.
As she is finishing up her Masters, Ghada has dedicated her graduate thesis to understanding how trauma becomes inherited, and what it means for entire groups of people to live with trauma. She believes that it is through education, the active use of knowledge, and unwavering persistence that we can truly make a positive change in the world.
2017-2018 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship Recipient
Noor Hillou is a student at the University of Georgia, majoring in Genetics with a minor in Chinese. Following an anticipated graduation in 2020, Noor hopes to pursue medical school where they can specialize in genetics and pediatrics. One of Noor’s major goals is to provide healthcare to LGBTQ, refugee, and other marginalized communities.
Noor recently dedicated an entire summer to volunteering at a children’s refugee shelter called the HOME Project in Greece that mainly serviced Middle Eastern and African refugees. Volunteering at the HOME Project shelters exposed Noor to refugee Middle Eastern and African children who are separated from their families or are orphans. While in Greece, Noor also participated in assisting the LGBT advocacy organization Colour Youth in creating resources for Arab LGBT refugees to better seek legal and medical assistance. Noor’s goal to pursue a pediatric career stems from witnessing the enormous number of children who were either malnourished, traumatized, or medically undertreated. Witnessing the neglect of these young refugees has encouraged Noor to become a pediatrician.
Alongside with refugee activism, Noor is also a part of the executive board for Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Georgia; a member of the Perspectives Diversity Advisory student board; and an active participant in the university’s IMPACT service programs. Noor believes that intersectionality and solidarity are vital components to progressing the Arab-American community; Noor has volunteered over 70+ hours of service to the Native American Lumbee tribe in North Carolina, and they are an international student orientation leader and participated in Georgia International Leadership Conference in 2017. Noor has started an initiative to not only reach out to the Middle Eastern community on campus for mental health and sexual trauma advocacy, but has also participated in community projects with the Black Lives Matter chapter in Georgia as well as the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement.
2016-2017 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship Recipient
Mohamed Alarabi is a Junior at Clarkson University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering (with an overall concentration in Aeronautics) and minoring in Mathematics. Mohamed is a student who believes the future is in aviation, and aspires to have a future career at Boeing. And in addition to his scholarly achievements and professional goals, Mohamed is proudly representing his Arab culture as a student.
In 2011, Mohamed joined the peaceful movement that led to the fall of a dictatorial regime in Libya, a revolution that sparked in Mohamed’s hometown of Benghazi. This participation inspired Mohamed to become a political activist, advocating for social rights and equality, especially those of women. With the help of other activists, Mohamed was an integral part in the creation of Amazonat Libya, a non-profit organization that advocates for democracy and women’s rights. From there, he worked on local and international projects for the cause of bettering Libya. He also worked as an election monitor during the first democratic elections in the history of Libya.
However, Libya’s ensuing civil war prevented Mohamed from pursuing his studies at the University of Benghazi and so Mohamed came to the United States in 2014 to continue his education – first at a Seattle-based community college and then transferring to New York-based Clarkson University in January 2016.
As a student in the U.S., Mohamed has excelled both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to his demanding engineering curriculum, he was selected as a senator in the student government, serving as a member of the diversity committee. He was also nominated as president of the Clarkson University Muslim Student Association, helping to reactivate the student organization on campus. He was selected as a student delegate at several conferences centered on diversity and inclusion, including presenting his own session about leading from diverse backgrounds at an annual community college conference. He also participated and facilitated multiple panels and lectures to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions about the Arab world and Islam.
Currently, Mohamed is the lead of the Multicultural Initiative with the Office of Student Life on campus, which advocates for inclusion through events that he coordinates on campus such as “Discover Islam” and “World Hijab Day”.
2015-2016 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship Recipient
Tina Al-Khersan, a junior at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, studying International Studies and Arabic, has been selected to receive the 2015 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship, a $2,000 award. While the University of Michigan, Tina has served as the Community Service Chair on the Executive Board of the Muslims’ Students Association and organized a variety of events ranging from Relay for Life to volunteering at a Creature Conservancy. Tina also works as a Diversity Peer Educator through University Housing, where Tina promotes cross-cultural understanding by organizing events that highlight obstacles that minorities face, including the plight of Arab-Americans.
With a concentration in Comparative Culture and Identity, Tina embodies NAAP’s five-pronged mission by not only educating herself on Arab culture but also by informing others about Arab culture through her passionate activism and her collective work experiences. Tina interned as a law clerk at the Michigan Immigrants’ Rights Center as a translator for Arabic speaking clients. Additionally, Tina currently is an intern with the International Refugee Assistance Project where she specifically works with Iraqi clients trying to resettle in America. On campus, Tina is on an Islamophobia Working Group that aims to strategize how to create a safe and inclusive campus environment for Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African students and those who are impacted by anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments. Tina’s future goals involve creating health programs in refugee camps in the Middle East and promoting refugee rights, as well as working to find ways to better unify the Arab-American community at home.
Tina, who is of Iraqi heritage, was born in New Zealand and moved to the United States at the age of three.
Inaugural 2014-2015 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship Recipients
Amal Elbakhar, a second year Harvard Law School student and Moroccan-American, has been selected to receive the inaugural 2014 NAAP Arab-American Scholarship, receiving a $2,000 award. Presently at Harvard, she is a Board member of the American Constitution Society and the Women’s Law Association, while also serving as Senior Editor on the Harvard Law and Policy Review.
Elbakhar received her B.A., magna cum laude from Hunter College/Macaulay Honors College (New York City) in 2011. During her undergraduate years, Elbakhar worked at Bellevue Hospital where she co-authored two journal articles. After graduating, she worked in Pittsburgh as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and then went on to work in New York City at Count Me In for Economic Independence. When she’s not immersed in academics, Elbakhar is actively involved in various communities – engaging in political activism, community service, and social activities.
Bader Jarai, a second year Illinois Institute of Technology and Palestinian national has been selected as the runner-up of the 2014 NAAP scholarship, receiving a $1,000 award. Jarai, received his International Baccalaureate Diploma from Ramallah Friends School in May 2013 and is currently pursuing his B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
Only in his second year, Jarai is already leading an array of academic, cultural, and political activities. As the Project Coordinator for his university’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Chem-E-Car competition, Jarai supervises students in constructing a car that runs on a zinc-air battery. In addition to his intense academic studies, Jarai is involved with various organizations on campus including the Arab Ameican Association of Engineers and Architects and Students for Justice in Palestine, where he serves as chapter President. Through these activities, Jarai strives to spread cultural and social awareness, in addition to political activism and engagement in campus and in his wider community. As a Palestinian studying in the United States, Jarai considers it his duty to actively engage with his community to help eradicate negative stereotypes about Arabs and raise positive awareness about his captivating Arab traditions and heritage.