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Great News: Young Man Starts First Day At Harvard, Welcome Ismail Ajjawi

September 4, 2019


When I read last week that Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian student was denied entry to the United States, it made me sad.  We should always be in the corner of those who seek to better themselves with the power of education.  We should always be on the side of those who know the value of an education.

Today I read this young man, just 17 years of age, did get past the needless hurdles and ignorant blockages and was able to start the first day of classes at Harvard.

We all should be pleased.

Ajjawi landed at Logan International Airport in Boston on Aug. 23 and was turned back after immigration officials objected to his friends’ social media posts.  There is reason to be concerned and troubled on free speech grounds for simply espousing views on social media.  That is certainly one part of this story.  In the end, however, the United States Embassy in Beirut reviewed his case and reissued a visa.

Harvard now has another eager mind on campus.  But let us not lose sight that at the center of this story are the needless obstacles put in place by the Trump administration making it more arduous for foreign students and scholars to study in the United States.

This world needs more bright minds and curious-oriented people who seek facts and truth so to lead us into the future.  Alienating those who would otherwise be inclined to form a favorable impression of American society and be educated in our classrooms sends a most damaging perception around the world.

I am glad to welcome Ismail Ajjawi to America.  Study and learn.   And have fun, too.

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