For Waad Zafer Hassan, the pen really is mightier than the sword. Originally from al Khalsa, Palestine, Waad has been accepted to the Manhattanville College, English Literature Program on a full scholarship from the Daughter’s for Life Foundation. To Waad, education is the only weapon she has in hand, and after hearing about the DFL, she was not only proud to hear that the founder was from Palestine as well, but that she would be able to attain her long time dream of being a writer. “It was great news to me to see a Palestinian accomplish so much and with such a pure cause in mind.”
“The scholarship sounded too good to be true! Not only does it cover my education but it also has this ideal goal that is in sync with what I hope to do one day.” Waad said. “I was ecstatic that such a prestigious and meaningful scholarship would be handed to me. A sense of relief was the first thing I felt when I heard the news. I am pretty proud of myself when I say I am a DFL scholar.” She added.
Growing up in Lebanon with her two younger siblings, Waad found solace in books. “I think literature has a way of building a new world for everyone and that is magical. I literally spent my childhood in the library next to my house!” Waad’s passion for books leads her to writing, and she has competed in several translation and story-writing competitions. She currently has over 60 poems posted online.
Being actively involved in social work as a child, Waad volunteered as an English instructor and taught basic language skills and poetry to Palestinian and Syrian children living in Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Apart from reading and writing, Waad enjoys down time with her friends, swimming and listening to music.
Waad was also very involved in her school’s extracurricular activities. She cites her work with the Model United Nations as the highlight of her high school career. “I loved this experience because it not only helped me stand in front of a crowd and gain public speaking skills, but to grow as a person.”
Waad believes everyone in the Middle East should aim to contribute to the development of the society, and that women specifically should contribute to the positive upbringing of future generations. Waad says she was raised to be aware of the situation around her, citing the lack of social and educational efforts for women and girls as one of her primary motives to apply to this scholarship. “The educational opportunity this scholarship offers will allow me to be a role model for the upcoming generations,” said Waad.
The last two weeks before departing to US were so overwhelming to Waad; it made the whole thing real and added the pressure of responsibility to the ongoing excitement. Arriving to campus was a sword with two edges for her, leaving home was never easy but it also meant the start of her journey in Manhattanville College. “I have a lot to accomplish and a message to pass” Waad concluded her talk.