Sahkr Alaqraby District 9980's Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholar was our guest speaker this week. Sahkr is currently studying at the University of Otago completing his masters in Peace and Conflict studies. Originally from Yemen, Sahkr did his undergrad at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, his Post undergrad he interned with the Human Rights Watch for 6 months.
Sahkr spoke of the political crisis in his homeland of Yemen, a place he is unable to return to due to his strong political views.
"The conflict in Yemen is a result of decades of corruption and a government that I believe deliberately aimed and hoped to create a politically illiterate nation.
A government or should I say a president who ruled the unified Yemen for 21 years, during which education or any other thing that was beneficial to the people and the country was never a concern.
Yemen was simply a country where the people served the government, where the people were exploited by regime. Lands were sold and ports were rented just so the president and the rest of his criminal entourage would stay in power.
Of course for him to keep the country that way, Ali Saleh, former Yemeni president, depended mainly on creating conflicts within tribes, funding militias who served as terrorists and started several wars against the Houthis whom are his allies now.
Of course the militant dictator did not just become a master mind because he read some books and just found the light; rather, his guiding “angel” then was Saudi Arabia -his enemy now- a country that in my opinion has no interest in ever witnessing a safe, stable and prosperous Yemen."
Sahkr is passionate about peace and is driven to make real change in an unstable world, The following is a quote from Sahkr's blog.
'I would actually love to stress on the fact that even with all the wars and civil unrest, Yemen miraculously still managed to have a few who continue to make us say, look there is still hope in Yemen. I attempted to do that in my Post undergrad work with the Human Rights Watch on Yemen. I have never felt as satisfied about working on any other thing in my life as I felt in those 6 months.
I am now about to start my second attempt in my pursuit of a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand as a Rotary scholar.
I have always had this dream of seeing and working with people who put their community and others first, having had no luck I decided to take it as my mission even if it meant it was going to be me against the world.
However my experience with Rotary has made me realise it was never just me against the world, but every Rotarian I met or heard of was already there, way ahead of me trying to make a change. I no longer felt a force of burden but those of humbleness and slight discontent, I haven’t done enough. I now felt the need to do even more, that of wanting to give back endlessly.
To conclude, I will share with you the 4-way test that Rotary lives by,
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
If you are not a Rotarian and you think it’s coming from the heart and you already live by it, then what is stopping you from becoming a Rotarian?
We can't help but wonder what change this young man may affect on our world, we wish Sakhr all the best with his studies at Otago and look forward to catching up with him again.