Student Feature

Q&A with student Tameem Al-Talabani

Tameem Al-Talabani, GHD'18, reflects on his past three semesters in the Global Human Development Program.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about where you’re from and your background?

I am an Iraqi, born and raised in Baghdad. I left Iraq in 2005 and lived in Jordan, my second home, for 11 years. For 6 of those years I worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service responding to refugees from Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Sudan and also vulnerable Jordanians. I worked to provide informal education, early education, and most importantly mental health and psycho-social support programs for several years. 

Q: Why did you choose GHD? 

To be honest, my experience has been strictly in emergency response in non-camp settings within areas of crisis. While keeping that in mind, I wanted to learn how development can be combined with emergency response in an economically sustainable way. My focus through my GHD classes has been how emergency responses can be developed and made more sustainable.

Q: How has GHD allowed you to pursue your academic and professional interests? 

Humanitarian emergency response and post-conflict response programming are my main focus and GHD has helped me access a myriad of experiences, professionals, and academics that have helped to shape my career plans.

Q: Are you involved in any groups or activities on or off campus?

On campus I am working on a project led by the Director of Arab Studies, Dr. Rochelle Davis. This project studies durable solutions for Iraqis who were displaced due to the violence by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  Off campus, I am volunteering as a consultant and a translator at the National Presbyterian Church who is hosting a refugee family and help them settle in the US culturally, socially, and economically.

Q: What have been some valuable insights you’ve gained so far from the GHD Program?  

GHD has given me immense access to expertise and intellectuals in my field of interest and also the opportunity to think innovatively without any limits for the better and the common good.

Q: What is an interesting thing that few people know about you? 

I am currently learning American Sign language and last semester I enrolled at Gallaudet University for Saturday classes with amazing group of people and wonderful Professor who helped us to learn ASL the fun way! I am also an avid music fan and taught myself to play the guitar 6 years ago. I bought a used acoustic guitar from eBay and I try to play whenever I can.