Growing up in Lebanon, a county which is 946 times smaller than the United States, a nation which is a home to 17 religious communities, and a society that is quick to judge based on prejudice, gives a person a whole new perspective when it comes to diversity. Since a young age, I have been committed to breaking the artificial barriers created by society through engaging in constructive dialogue with people of different religion, race and ethnicity. I have learned not to judge people using any preconceived notion, rather engage in a conversation to get to know others.
It never seizes to amaze me how similar different people can be, a concept I got to thoroughly experience when traveling to Coimbatore in India to attend an event called “Super Congress 2009” where teenagers from all around the world got together to experience the importance of understanding and respecting people of different cultures and beliefs while following one golden rule: “Do unto others what you would like them to do unto you. This event not only broadened my perspective on diversity, but also gave me a glimpse of hope that no matter how diverse a society is, we can always treat each other with respect and dignity. My commitment to diversity also led me to another event titled “Genfest 2012 – Let’s Bridge” in Budapest where the theme was centered around creating long lasting bridges between people of different cultures, race, and backgrounds.
As a current Ph.D student doing research in a highly diverse lab, and as potentially future professor, I am committed to applying the lessons in diversity that I have had the privilege of experiencing. Primarily through being open to discussions and new ideas that broaden my perspectives and allow me to start viewing the world from a different viewpoint. An example that comes to mind is the discussions in my future professoriate class where I learned about different approaches to education in different countries, this gave me a chance to elaborate my teaching philosophy which was mainly influenced by a single educational experience.