Student Fights for Iraqi Refugees in Essay Contest


Every year the American Foreign Service sponsors an essay writing competition pertaining to current events that have to do with our country’s foreign policies. This year, BHS Freshman Supriya Sharma has entered the contest, writing about the Refugee Crisis. I got the chance to discuss the project with Supriya and hear more about her experience.

EL: I thought we could begin by you describing your project.

SS: What I’m participating in is an essay competition by the American Foreign Service. This year, their topic is the refugee crisis in Kenya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey. The applicants have to choose one of these four countries and act as an ambassador to one of these countries by providing a solution to this problem, while protecting US interests in that country. The country I chose was Iraq, mainly because I feel that besides Syria, Iraq is where the refugee crisis is the worst right now, and providing a solution for this area might be beneficial to both the refugees and American citizens in the long run.

EL: That’s incredible! I heard that this experience has given you the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people.

SS: Definitely. Well, it’s giving me the opportunity to meet and work with these people. If I win, I would get the opportunity to meet the Secretary of State, and the current Ambassador to Iraq. That’s very interesting to me, because I think being an ambassador is a job that requires intellect and courage, as you are representing your country to others, and can’t afford to make mistakes.

EL: Wow, that would be amazing. Fingers crossed you do get that opportunity! Has this competition provided you with any learning experiences?

SS: Yes, so many! I’ve learned so much about the refugee crisis, and the US point of view from this competition. I mean, I see what’s on TV and the news every day, but until you really dive in, you don’t understand the struggle in Iraq and the amount of barriers the US has from helping them. It’s so interesting, learning about it, but it’s so sad too, seeing the struggles and just wanting to do something, to ease the struggle of the people who were simply disadvantaged in where they were born.

EL: Wow, I can’t even imagine. We are truly blessed to live in our country. Would you like to talk a bit about your solution?

SS: My solution is to send US troops to the cities in Iraq that are in severe danger, like Mosul, and after the troops arrive, if they feel their lives are still truly in danger even with the assistance of US troops, they can then apply for refugee status and be granted it within a year, although there will be an intense vetting process. This will decrease the amount of refugees applying for liberation in the US and speed up the process for those that apply, because most people anywhere would probably rather live a calm life even under the safety of US soldiers than uproot their entire lives to a new foreign country, where although they may not be in danger, they might be more discriminated against.

EL: That’s an incredible solution. Good luck in your competition!

BHS wishes the best of luck to Supriya!