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Meet Hashem Abu Shama, our current Events Intern and UN Youth Delegate! We asked him a few questions so that you can get to know him:

Q: Where are you originally from?

A:  My family is originally from a small town in Jaffa. They were expelled from their village in 1948. Long since then, they have been living in Arroub refugee camp–right outside the city of Hebron in the West Bank.

Q: Where are you now and what activism are you engaged in?

A: I am now the Events Intern for UNRWA USA. I am a UN Youth Delegate for UNRWA, and for Palestine. I just joined the National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee. In addition, I am the elected president of the Earlham Student Government.

Q: What’s one memory that you have that you use as an inspiration for the work you do?

A: That would be the reaction in Arroub after my first speech in the UN. The UNRWA West Bank office wrote a story about my speech in their newsletter. Then, the UNRWA schools in my refugee camp distributed the newsletter to all of their students–with the hope of showing them their potential. This always reminds me of the importance of my work, and in some ways, the responsibility I have.

Q: What’s your favorite book?

A: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela. My favorite book in Arabic is “The Era of White Horses”, which is written by Ibrahim Nasrallah. It is a novel about 1948 and the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland.  

Tomorrow, August 13 from 11am-1pm at the UNRWA USA office in Washington DC, Hashem will give a presentation and lead a conversation about his experiences with UNRWA and its critical work on the ground.