Many Languages One World program, a Beacon of Hope for Global Engagement

Interacting with people from different cultures was something I intrinsically had motivation toward from childhood. However, growing up in a country where war was part of everyday life events and where opportunities of good education were very rare made of that dream unfeasible. Yet, that motivation I had pushed me to try. Instead of cursing the darkness that was filling the place, I chose to look at that tiny minute speck of light at the end of the tunnel! Years passed and that once hardly visible light started to show wider and recently turned to be a beacon of hope that is the Many Languages One World Program! 

English was the language I always wanted to learn because I realized that it would be the language that will provide me with the means to achieve my goal of knowing the world. The lack of opportunities to learn English due to deteriorating school system, anti-western ideology advocated by the old Iraqi regime and the inability to travel minimized my hope of developing my English skills through formal education and left me with only one option: self-learning. I later realized that learning a foreign language does not always require sophisticated bilingual education or to attend highly ranked language schools. Motivation and determination can be very effective and for me that was the only way and I accepted that challenge. To achieve that goal, I worked with the limited resources available but backed by strong motive and cause. For example, I became a member of the only youth society on international correspondence existed in my town at that time where it allowed me to be exposed to the target language by reading catalogues and brochures that were mailed to us by universities and tourist companies! Later, I had the opportunity to practice my English by volunteering to interpret for the US army, UN agencies and other non for profit organizations in post war Iraq despite the risk associated with such work in a still war zone. Recently, I got the opportunity to study in the U.S, a setting that prepared me to hook up with MLOW, a program that opened up different horizons and I am now proud to be both an MLOW alumni and an MLOW staff!

To me, winning the 2015 MLOW award meant more than merely a writing contest. More importantly, it provided me with the avenue to know and interact with people from different cultural, educational and linguistic backgrounds. This was the dream I had yearned to see come true for years. That was not only about hanging out and interacting with international people during our stay in New York and present a short speech in the UN general assembly. Moreover, it reinforced in me the sense of being global citizens in a world that is full if challenges. Together we formed a team of global citizens where we kept on exchanging ideas, initiatives and perspectives on global issues. Months after the program ended, we realized that we had become reliable sources of information to each other on how best we could contribute to the world’s good by highlighting the themes of the United Nations’ sustainable goals more on a grass root level. MLOW has now become a workshop of ongoing global positive changes and I am proud to belong to it.

Ahmed Fahad

MLOW 2015 Winner