An Afghan student, Fatima Rezaei, has been accepted by five prestigious universities worldwide to pursue her master’s degree. Rezaei is currently a student at the American University of Beirut and her exceptional academic record and dedication to her studies have earned her this remarkable achievement.
She is currently in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut and is expected to graduate in June 2023.
According to Rezaei, she has been accepted to pursue her master’s degree in Public Affairs at Brown University in the United States, Public Policy at the University of Minnesota, Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, as well as economics at the American University of Central Asia, and Conflict Management and Humanitarian Action at the Doha Institute of Graduate Studies.
Talking to Nimrokh, Rezaei expressed her elation at being accepted to five renowned universities for her master’s degree. However, she has not yet decided on which university she will ultimately attend, she said.
Born in 2001 in Herat City, Rezaei was raised there and completed her studies up to the 12th grade at Jebrael Girls’ High School. Despite being a native of Herat, her parents hail from the Sangtakht-Bandar District of Daikundi province.
“I Believe in My Abilities”
In Afghanistan, it is a rare occurrence for a young woman like 21-year-old Fatima to gain admission to multiple prestigious universities around the world.
She attributes her success to a combination of hard work, optimism, and an unwavering belief in herself, in addition to the support of her family. She stresses that she never underestimates her abilities.
Four years ago, Fatima decided to leave her medical studies at Herat University and pursue political studies at the American University of Beirut. Despite facing criticism for her decision, she remained determined to succeed in her field and become the ideal version of herself.
Apart from excelling academically, Rezaei is also a dedicated social activist who takes part in numerous social programs.
Alongside her regular undergraduate studies, she says, she is undertaking a one-year training program in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution at The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and is active in The World Youth Alliance and Cultural Club of Afghan Citizens in Beirut.
Additionally, Rezaee volunteers at migrant camps, where she teaches English and soft skills to aid in the personal growth of the migrants.
She is committed to sharing her own experiences as well as educational opportunities for girls through social media, offering guidance and assistance to those striving to reach their goals.
Fatima wishes to be able to pursue a doctoral degree after completing her master’s, or alternatively, work for humanitarian organizations within Afghanistan if educational opportunities are not available. She hopes to serve her community as a woman and is optimistic that the conditions will improve by the time she completes her studies.
“I Couldn’t Believe That Afghanistan Had Fallen to The Taliban”
The news of Afghanistan falling to the Taliban came as a shock to Rezaei, who was studying in Lebanon at the time. She could not sleep for two weeks after hearing the news.
She told Nimrokh that she had read “shocking” stories of life under Taliban rule only in books, but she found it difficult to believe that the group had once again taken control of Afghanistan.
Upon hearing the news of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Fatima expressed that, like millions of Afghan citizens, she was in a state of disbelief and shock, saying “I was astonished that such a thing had happened in Afghanistan during my lifetime!”
Talking about girls’ situation in Afghanistan, she finds it deeply troubling and painful to see that girls in Afghanistan, where she has spent nearly two decades of her life, are being deprived of their basic human rights such as education.
Rezaei encourages girls to never give up on their education and dreams, no matter what obstacles they may face.
She points out that with smartphones now being widely available in Afghanistan, girls can access online educational resources and learn languages such as English for free. They can also apply for scholarships at various universities by submitting online applications.
Fatima stresses the importance of learning English, which can provide girls with access to many educational opportunities around the world and allow them to connect with universities for further education.
While she hopes that the situation in Afghanistan will improve soon and women will have the freedom to work and study, she urges those who have the ability to help and support girls in pursuing their education in these difficult times.
Finally, Rezaei advises girls to have confidence in their abilities, not to suppress their interests, and to be willing to take risks to pursue their goals and see where the road leads them.