2011 January | UNA Greater Seattle Chapter

United Nations Association Greater Seattle Chapter

Students gain insight, experience on Iran trip

January 21st, 2011 by unaseattle

In April of 2010 Brooke Loughrin, an eighteen year old student from Lakeside high school in Seattle traveled to Iran with me. This was made possible with the sponsorship of United Nations Association of Greater Seattle and the generosity of many previous tour members as Brooke had to raise most of the funds for her journey.

This is what Brooke had to say about her trip:

“As a 17 year old high school student, I did not know whether or not there was a place for me on a group trip to Iran.

However, from the moment I expressed interest in the trip, Abdi took steps to ensure that my experience in Iran was as educational, engaging and enriching as possible. How many other American teenagers can say they spent Spring break talking to soldiers, students and artists in Iran? Returning from Iran, I was asked by many friends how I was able to travel in such a seemingly “hostile” country and have such a wonderful time. The answer to this question lies in the conscientious care and attention that was paid to me and my goals in learning. It was a privilege and a pleasure to travel with someone as passionate and patient as Abdi, and I can only encourage prospective tour members to take advantage of the opportunity to travel with him while they have the chance!”

Brooke Loughrin – Seattle, WA

This year Lily Ghebrai, a schoolmate of Brooke’s who was born in Eritrea and raised in the U.S. is planning to do the same.

Lily with her host mother on a trip to Rabat, Morocco.

Lily was inspired by Brooke and her rich cultural experience. This trip is again sponsored by  United Nations Association of Greater Seattle. If you would like to support Lily’s trip please go to the UNA site at:


Please click “General Tax Deductible Donation” and note “Lily Ghebrai trip to Iran.” You can use a credit card or mail a check payable to UNA Seattle and mail to:  UNA Seattle PO Box 85682   Seattle, WA   98145 – please note Lily Ghebrai on the check.

Please let Abdi Sami know via email (abdi@solhtours.com) if you have made a contribution.

Thanks so much for your support.



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WSU Student and Gaza Strip Resident Granted Visa After Months of Trying

January 21st, 2011 by UNA Seattle

Basheed teaching youth. Image from International Examiner

Dear friends,

Last month, we were extremely delighted to learn that Abed Al Hadi Basheer, a Palestinian early child education leader from Gaza, was accepted for doctoral studies at the College of Education at Washington State University and finally successful in securing his student visa at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.  Abed faced considerable challenges on his journey from Gaza to Pullman [see Moscow-Pullman Daily News story:  http://www.iexaminer.org/news/features/wsu-student-gaza-strip-resident-granted/], but he is now at the Palouse, and eager to commence his Ph.d.  Upon completing his Ph.d, Abed looks forward to returning to his native Gaza to devote his professional career to developing a nonprofit organization to educate at-risk Palestinian children.
Thanks to the combined efforts of innumerable friends at Amnesty International, the College of Education faculty at Washington State University, University of Idaho, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, the United Nations Association, and human rights organizations throughout Washington state, and Europe, Abed has finally been able to realize his dream.  This year, however, he faces an equally formidable challenge, perhaps one as daunting as the one he just endured.  Abed needs your financial support to supplement the modest assistance he has received from WSU to begin his graduate studies.  As you might imagine, his out-of-state tuition and related expenses are staggering for a foreign student, and amount to more than $20,000 a year.
Those of us who are proud to count Abed Al Hadi Basheer as our friend and colleague, are privileged to support this fine young educator.  He is one of those rare individuals who is willing to make enormous personal sacrifices on behalf of educating and assisting children.   We are believe Abed is most deserving of our assistance and are confident that he make a lasting contribution to the welfare and betterment of young people in his native Palestine, which already has endured much and now faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.  You can help.  Would you be willing to contribute whatever amount you can to help provide tuition and related assistance for Abed?  If you are, please contact me at collin.tong9@gmail.com, Prof. Dawn Shinew, dshinew@wsu.edu, or John Reinke, jactive@gmail.com.  Thank you again for your generous support.  And warm wishes for the Lunar New Year!
Warm regards,


Collin Tong
Freelance Journalist
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