Cherishing Diversity (IEW Contest Winner)

Hamad's 75+ presentations for International Education Week

Hamad poses with Jordan Rodriguez, Director of International Affairs at the Indianapolis Mayor's Office. In addition to his more than 75 presentations, Hamad interviewed Mr. Rodriguez, his high school principal, and others about the importance of international education.


International Education Week (IEW) was one of the greatest experiences I've had in the U.S. so far. Not only did I have the privilege and honor of representing my country and sharing my culture as a true ambassador, but I got to learn and celebrate cultures of other countries from other exchange students. I gave presentations in all of my classes for five days, in churches in my community, and at community centers like the YMCA and the Center for Interfaith Co-Operation. At each place, I presented about my home country of Pakistan and shared some of our culture, traditions, and values.

I also had deep and meaningful conversations about religion, and one of my presentations primarily focused on debunking the notion that religion incites violence or that Muslims are extremists and radicals. I played a quiz game called Kahoot with the classes I presented to and gave the top winners a small prize! I showed them Pakistani currency (rupees) and other items which they were very excited to see. I also had the opportunity to talk to my school principal and the director of international affairs at the mayor's office in Indianapolis about my country and the importance of cultural exchange.

I even made a traditional dish called karahi from my country. For someone who was cooking for only the second time in his life, it turned out pretty great! I also got to taste some delicious dishes from other countries at the international dinner event hosted by my community coordinator.

Overall, IEW was an enlightening experience, and I feel I gained a sense of global community and learned how to engage with it and cherish our diversity!

—Hamad (YES, Pakistan), hosted by the Everett family (IN)