Palestinian student gains US entry to become Harvard freshman

Lebanese-born Palestinian student Ismail B. Ajjawi, 17, arrived in Boston September 2 to join the entering freshman class at Harvard University, following deportation.

By HEDDY BREUER ABRAMOWITZ
September 5, 2019 13:59
1 minute read.
Ismail Ajjawi will be part of Harvard's Class of 2023

Ismail Ajjawi will be part of Harvard's Class of 2023. (photo credit: ABEER NOUF/UNRWA)

Lebanese-born Palestinian student Ismail B. Ajjawi, 17, arrived in Boston September 2 to join the entering freshman class at Harvard University in time to start studies as a member of the Class of 2023.  

Initially his visa was cancelled by a US immigration official at the Boston's Logan International Airport in on August 28. He was interrogated for five hours concerning his online social media presence before being deported to Lebanon.

There was a great outcry on the Harvard campus evidenced by a petition amassing over 7,000 signatures, said the Harvard Crimson.

“The last ten days have been difficult and anxiety filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of AMIDEAST,” said Ajjawi's family. “We hope now that everyone can respect our and Ismail’s privacy and he can now simply focus on settling into college and his important class work.”

AMIDEAST is a scholarship-granting non-profit organization that is sponsoring Ajjawi's education.





Ajjawi has dreams "of becoming a surgeon, and had already decided on a major chemical and physical biology," reported the LA Times.

Ajjawi is from Tyre, Lebanon and was educated in the UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) Deir Yassin High School in the El Buss refugee camp, south of Tyre. According to the UNWRA press statement, Awajji achieved the highest score in the life science stream of the Official Lebanese Baccalaureate exams in the south region and eighth highest in all of Lebanon.

Ajjawi, who was born in Lebanon, receives the status of a Palestinian refugee through his father, in accordance with UNWRA's UN mandate. Their website states "The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration." All other refugees in the world are aided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which does not extend refugee status generation to generation.


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