For Teaching Fellow Myriam Aziz, life has always been about connections between people. “I’ve always been passionate about talking to people and having interactive, constructive conversations,” said Aziz. “And creating a container for safe conversations with people, though the [conversations] are not always comfortable.”
Aziz graduated from EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and returned to EMU as a Teaching Fellow — a newly created position as of this year — for the Department of Applied Social Sciences (DASS). “I feel like the world is at a point where education is key. We all need it more than ever,” said Aziz. “I felt like I had the right skills and knowledge to bring to this department.”
Deanna Durham, an Assistant Professor of the DASS, has clearly felt the presence of Aziz. “Myriam [has] life experiences that inform [her] teaching, and, by bringing her own history into the classroom, students are being challenged to engage the broader world in new ways.”
The Teaching Fellowship position is designed to last for a year. After that, Aziz plans on returning to her home in Lebanon to work towards a position in the Lebanon Foreign Service. “That’s always been my career goal,” said Aziz. “It would mean starting to climb the diplomatic ladder … and then [becoming] an ambassador hopefully. I would be working with my country’s foreign affairs … That’s always the direction I’ve been going.”
Aziz is also a Fulbright Scholar. The Fulbright Scholarship was created by U.S. Senator William J. Fulbright in 1945 to “[promote] international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.” This scholarship is available for students in 140 countries for fully funded education in a United States graduate school.
The Fullbright Scholarship is about more than academics. It gives Aziz access to a global network. “You’re meeting people across the world, and when you’re in the same room you realize this is powerful … To create relationships which transcend boundaries,” said Aziz. “This is how you debunk myths and transcend stereotypes. This is how you create long lasting relationships. Foreign relationships are one thing, but human, real relationships, they have a long lasting effect.”
EMU is a place where Aziz has felt supported and had a positive impact on her life. “I feel like EMU has given me and offered me a lot in the past couple of years, and I am just really happy to be giving back and contributing to its students. EMU is a great institution. We all have a lot of work to do still, but at least we are having conversations about it, and that makes me very hopeful.”