Thank you to everyone who applied for the 2018 charterUP National Scholarship for Immigrants and Refugees. We received hundreds of applications from talented and dedicated students from all over the world, and the decision was far from easy. After much deliberation, our scholarship committee proudly announced Hazim Avdal as this year’s winner!
Hazim was born and raised in Iraq and is a genocide survivor from the Yazidi ethno-religious minority. He and his family fled their hometown just before the genocide began in 2014. Hazim, a self-taught programmer, used his skills to help his community in the aftermath of the tragedy. He designed and built a database for women who had escaped or were rescued from sexual enslavement for an organization called Yazda.
Through his work, he met Amal Clooney, an international human-rights lawyer and wife of George Clooney. The Clooneys were so moved by his courage and talent that they helped him apply and get accepted into the University of Chicago. Hazim has even appeared on David Letterman’s Netflix special My Next Guest Needs No Introduction to discuss and share his story.
As a computer engineer, Hazim hopes to continue using his skills to make a difference in his community and in the world. We’re proud and honored to celebrate Hazim’s accomplishments, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this dedicated self-starter.