Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

AMP Annual Dinner Honors World's Youngest Medical Student

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

AMP Annual Dinner Honors World's Youngest Medical Student

Article excerpt

Iqbal El Assaad, a 19-year-old medical student at Qatar's Weill Cornell Medical College, regaled more than 1,200 guests with her story of determination, resilience and courage at the annual dinner for American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) on Feb. 25 at Belvedere Chateau in Palos Hills, IL.

El Assaad discussed how she overcame the obstacles she faced as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon to graduate from high school when she was 12 years old and enter college in Qatar when she was 14. Although she is not allowed to go to Palestine, the young woman told of her burning desire to see her homeland and for all Palestinians to return to "Safad, Haifa, Jaffa, Akkar and Ramallah." She said she hopes to conduct her residency in the United States before returning first to Qatar and finally to Lebanon, where she wants to work with Palestinian refugees.

"To all the youth here, I have a message," she said. "Study, study, study. Education is our weapon" to help us overcome the occupation.

AMP presented El Assaad with its annual Al Quds Award for the inspiration she brings to Palestinian youth around the world. Chicago activist Kevin Clark, of the International Solidarity Movement and the Free Gaza Movement, received AMP's inaugural Distinction in Activism Award.

In addition to the honorees, AMP's fourth annual dinner featured a diverse and intellectually stimulating program that included remarks by Karen AbuZayd, former commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which oversees Palestinian refugees; AMP chairman Dr. …

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