Iyad is known as a reliable and thoughtful student throughout campus, serving the College and surrounding community in myriad ways. A few highlights of his engagement with, and commitment to, civic service and social change include: active representation of the Muslim community throughout the Shenandoah Valley, regional outreach to area middle schools, developing and implementing training for students in debate, facilitation, social media use, and public speaking, and founding two student clubs, the Muslim Student Association and the Model United Nations, with the Bridgewater Model U. N. having already won regional recognition for their work. In less formal ways, Iyad engages his peers regularly in dialogue on topics including student governance, social justice and inclusion, and education on contemporary issues on a global scale, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He even initiated a campus-wide conversation about Islam, the differences and practices and perspectives within, and organized weekly education sessions and prayer demonstrations. Our goal in nominating him for this prestigious program is to provide more opportunities to deepen and broaden his passion for, and ability to foster, civic engagement.
I have been interested in civil discourse since I can remember. Growing up, my family was split between two political parties. However, my family always enjoyed discussing politics in a respectable manner, and I have picked up on that, as it was not normal in my community. When I moved to the United States, I was surprised to find that American politics is even more polarizing than politics in Palestine. During my junior year of high school, I enjoyed planning roundtables to discuss political issues across party lines for all ages. In college, I have noticed that a lot of the students were misinformed about Islam and its beliefs. That motivated me to start the Muslim Students Association at Bridgewater College to create better understanding of Islam and the beliefs of Muslims around the world. Since, then I have been committed to promote dialogues and conversations between students from various backgrounds. As it is difficult for democracy to function when we lack understanding of each other.