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The College of Arts Sciences

Salma Shitia: 'I founded an organization to aid in the resettlement of refugees in Ithaca'

May 1, 2018

Salma Shitia

Near Eastern Studies

Prospect, CT & Cairo, Egypt

What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity is, "Cornell Welcomes Refugees." I founded the group in 2015 to aid in the resettlement of refugees here in Ithaca while promoting advocacy, education, philanthropy, art and translation. Asylum is a human right. The intervention of war machines, climate change imposed on developing countries by the "developed," and other factors displace millions of civilians. To recognize our privilege is the first step. The next is to fight the constant existence of such privilege.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

A class called, "The History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" with Professor Ross Brann influenced my Cornell education most. Watching students enter with such strong opinions on the conflict, yet shift their thought processes after critically thinking through a historical lens illustrated the importance of historical analysis for me.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

My liberal arts education is unique, particularly in Near Eastern studies. Rather than learning surface-level history of a region, I was also challenged by requirements that encouraged the studies of language acquisition, geography, archeology, literature, religion and film across ancient and modern time periods.

Salma Shitia