Nasser Hassoun: Peace Through Diplomacy  

Nasser Hassoun is a strong Muslim Student Association leader, helping his organization grow dramatically every semester and earn recognition and respect at his college. Most recently, Hassoun has realized how this experience and a specific international relations course has helped pave his future — he now knows he wants to study political science, to spread peace to all walks of life through diplomacy. This story is part of MALA’s scholarship essay contest. To see more scholarship essays, click here.

My name is Nasser Hassoun, and I am president of my Muslim Student Association. After my first year at Broward College, I realized my passion for being involved in multiple changes throughout the Broward College community. The next year, I found myself leading the Muslim Student Association on campus after the former president noticed my involvement with the Muslim community. The club has grown to great heights under my leadership, earning the “Most Outstanding Program” award on campus this school year and increasing members rapidly. We started with 10-15 active members in fall 2016 and had 80 active members in the beginning of spring 2017.

A pivotal factor that keeps this club united and on a constant level of growth is the notion of respecting and loving one another like family while making sure our voices are heard. I was able to create a leadership board and make sure each of its members believe this — that has attributed to our strong foundation. Further, as president, I helped our members lobby the dean and president of Broward College to establish a prayer room on campus. Now, MSA constantly meets with the dean and president on campus to ensure the Muslim community is accommodated to the best of our abilities.

I’ve known helping the Muslim community is something I am passionate about for some time, but it wasn’t until my second semester on campus that I decided to choose my career path. Last spring semester I took an introduction to international relations course. I found myself immersed in it. The inter-workings of government and the role of domestic politics in foreign policy caught my attention immediately. I would engage in after-class conversations with my professor about globalization and the workings of our national government in the international scope of politics.

After taking the class, my identity changed into not only wanting to help the Muslim community grow, but also help humanity as a whole. I made the decision to change my major to political science. I recently interned with the Capitol Hill Leadership Academy at George Washington University. There, I undertook a one-week intensive training in civic engagement, diplomacy, campaign management and the political process. To make use of recently gained skills I turned to the local population as I interned with Emgage. Emgage is an organization where we empower and engage Muslims in the political process: bringing change not only to our community but to other minority groups protecting their civil liberties. My dream, at the moment, is to work for the United Nations to spread peace to all walks of life through diplomacy.

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