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Muslim Student Wins Princeton Prize for Race Relations

Muslim Student Wins Princeton Prize for Race Relations
  • Mawahib “Mo” Ismail didn’t answer the first two calls she received from a number she didn’t recognize a few weeks ago
  • But when they didn’t leave a message and called back a third time, she relented and answered.
  • To her surprise, it was a representative from Princeton University letting her know that she had been one of only 27 students nationwide selected as a 2019 Princeton Prize Award winner.

A Muslim student at a public high school in Shoreline, Washington, has been lauded by Princeton for anti-discrimination work.

“Mo [Mawahib Ismail] is a natural leader, activist and a young visionary who is willing to ask the hard questions while also bringing people into the conversation with compassion,” Shorecrest Principal Lisa Gonzalez, told Shoreline Schools.

“I have had the chance to watch her growth since middle school and know that this powerful young woman is launching into the world with a good head on her shoulders, a loving heart, and clear eyes focused on social justice. Mo is a wonderful ambassador for our community and I couldn’t be prouder to have her representing Shorecrest High School on the national stage.”

For the past two years, Ismail has served as president of the Shorecrest Black Student Union (BSU), where she helps lead and coordinate a variety of events and activities, including the incredibly powerful and moving annual Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly.

She has also helped support and guide the monthly Shorecrest Race and Equity Forums. The forums offer students the opportunity to engage in open and honest discussions of a variety of important topics.

“I really wanted to help underprivileged youth and teens because I understand the plight of what it’s like to be part of an underprivileged, underrepresented group,” said Ismail.

“It’s important for us to be able to talk about the issues that go on, but it’s also really important to act on them.”

Another Muslim students at Lindbergh High School, St. Louis, Missouri, has also received the prestigious Princeton Prize in Race Relations.

“While it is difficult to hear a student say that their experience in the district was sometimes rough,” high school principal Eric Cochran told St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Amela’s [Sijecic] positive approach made her message powerful.”

Several Muslim students have received similar prestigious awards.

Last month, Bridgewater College Muslim student Iyad Hmidat was named a Newman Civic Fellow by Boston-based Campus Compact for demonstrating a capacity for leadership and investment in solving public problems.

Earlier in November 2018, a British Muslim student at the University of Kentucky was named a Rhodes Scholar, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world.

In February 2017, high school students in Oak Lawn, Illinois, honored their Syrian classmate with a video tribute, choosing her as the most inspirational student at their school.


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