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Scholar Close-Up: Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi

Scholar Close-Up: Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi

A verse in the Quran inspired Abd Al-Rahman to become a doctor.
Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi
Photo: Holly Hernandez

What global issue are you interested in addressing?

I am deeply committed to the accelerating global refugee crisis and the manner in which our humanitarian system provides sustainable and long-term healthcare to populations displaced by conflict. As a first-generation Syrian American, I have seen my country literally turn to rubble. I spent time volunteering in a field hospital near Aleppo, experiencing firsthand the smell of death, the pain of war, and the trauma of migration. Our medical team once saved a young child’s life, but at the cost of not being able to save her mother. Families that survive and escape without life-threatening injuries are greeted in countries with backs turned, and people who see them as less human. I want to serve those people, those who have nothing, and aspire for a world where the dignity of a refugee is upheld as the same as my own.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your current academic interests?

At a young age, I remember reading the verse in the Quran that states, for the one who saves a life, it’s as if they saved all of humanity. I remember telling myself that I wanted to be a doctor, so I can save a life every day. However, my mother is the one who showed me what this means, to live selflessly, to serve the lives of others. When the conflict in Syria began, my mother dropped everything and booked a flight to Turkey to find a medical organization with which to work. She spent the next three years, sacrificing her career and her time with our family, growing and directing an organization that now serves over a million beneficiaries every year. I hope I can be even a quarter of the person my mom is, in the sincerity of her intentions and dedication to the people around her.

What does being a Knight-Hennessy Scholar mean to you?

Being a Knight-Hennessy Scholar means leading by example. To be role models for the generations coming after us. To approach problems with a smile. To collaborate and work with others. It means humbling ourselves to the people we aim to serve. To recognize and appreciate the people who have gotten us to this point. To search for flaws within ourselves, and work on self-improvement to become kinder, more benevolent people.

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