#TheProfileMove: Yara Doumit
By Jill Davis
It’s safe to say that everyone you meet, especially on a college campus, has a unique story and background to share if anyone takes the time to listen. We’re glad that we have taken the time to hear the story of Yara Doumit. Yara is a sophomore at American University and has already been making way to change the world as we know it today.
“My name is Yara Doumit and I am from Beirut, Lebanon”
Yara was born in LA which ignited her initial love for America and the style of higher education here in the States. “At school here, I always feel like when I walk out of the classroom, I have a new perspective and can apply that to my everyday life or even a future internship.” The insight Yara gained from being at American University actually led her to spin a 180 from her initial college plans as she originally planned on going to Pepperdine University in Malibu after a semester at AU. She then got a real taste of the DMV with an internship downtown that she ended up loving and appreciating the dynamic that D.C. has.
“I loved having the monuments, museums, people from everywhere all around me.”
We got a deeper dive into the life of an international student at AU and asked Yara if she felt there was enough representation and consideration for the community we have on campus. She said she actually enjoys being “that someone” in the class that raises their hand and starts speaking with a new language or accent, because she knows she’s bringing a new perspective to the classroom. Even being a minority on the campus as an international student, Yara says being apart of the Arab international students, she feels she stands out even more, but she values that.
“I don’t believe we are the prioritized population on this campus, but that’s what is special about being able to represent my culture by just being here. People are very curious about what it is like, and I appreciate being able to share with them”
Yara shared with us that one of the reasons she moved to the United States was because of the open mindedness and freedom she feels here and hopes to bring her achievements and what she acquires back to Lebanon. “You can wake up, have a new idea, and can find people that will support you right away. It is not easy to do that in my country.” Yara’s mom was actually one of the first people in Lebanon that went on national television and stated that she has a son with Autism, Naji. Yara has always admired her mom because she founded the nonprofit, Openminds, with other mothers in Lebanon for children that have Autism and special needs, and they are truly helping individual’s like Yara’s 14 year old brother, Naji, who lives back in Beirut with his and Yara’s mother.
Yara saw how much change could be made, and wanted to bring that same leadership with her wherever she decided to go. With that came, Openminds Generation. The club Yara has created is meant to work with companies, like small storefronts to employ individuals with Autism and special needs. There shouldn’t need to be any motivation to do so, but we know that in today’s society there is still a disconnect in these communities, so as a start, Openminds Generation have come up with the idea to offer social media maintenance for any employers that are willing to hire people with special needs. Currently there is a team of 15 international and American students that work with the concept to visit small and big businesses, and make a deal with the company to employ one or two individuals with special needs. What to keep an eye out for within the trajectory of Openminds Generation is getting a database set up to be as easy as allowing a parent or caregiver going onto the website, uploading the abilities of the individual with special needs and match them with job openings from companies we have partnered with.
Yara Doumit is a student who has faced a great deal of obstacles to be as successful as she is today. She has come to a new country, found her passions, and continues to make happen what she wishes to see in the world. She is making change by breaking down barriers of ableism and adversity within many communities.