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Like many La Verne students, Malalai Farooqi has a perspective that goes beyond U.S. borders and helps her identify with the issues discussed at the recent College of Law state-building symposium.

Like many La Verne students, Malalai Farooqi has a perspective that goes beyond U.S. borders and helps her identify with the issues discussed at the recent College of Law state-building symposium.

Personal Perspective

Afghanistan & State Building symposium stirs a passionate response from two College of Law students.

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  • May 24, 2010

When University of La Verne College of Law student Malalai Farooqi heard a professor at a recent event describe helping people get political asylum, she had a definite reaction.

“I was getting goose bumps,” said Farooqi, a 24-year-old Afghan American whose family was granted political asylum when she was 5. “That was me.”

Farooqi was among a number of students who recently attended a symposium called “Afghanistan & State Building” presented by La Verne College of Law. Spread over three days, the event brought together international dignitaries, military officials, attorneys, government leaders and others to work on a common goal: establishing protocols for states emerging from post-conflict turmoil.

Farooqi was born in Pakistan and her family left during the Cold War, a conflict her father was involved in. She remembered hearing stories as a child.

“I think it’s really important for me to be here,” she said of the symposium. “They were talking a lot about the next generation and how this is a generational problem. I am the next generation, so if I don’t care, who will?

“I feel like if the youth don’t care, there isn’t going to a long-term solution. That’s why I’m here. It’s something really close to my heart.”

Farooqi, who volunteered at the event, said she was proud La Verne was hosting the program, which she said taught her a lot. She said she was so excited she called her mother frequently to give updates about what she had heard.

“I’m just jazzed that they even had something like this here,” she said. “This is the last thing I ever expected, not because it’s La Verne but because Afghanistan is a topic people tend to sweep under the rug. We’ve been there for so long and people just don’t want to deal with it anymore.”

Allen K. Easley, dean of the La Verne College of Law, sees connecting the theoretical with the practical as an important part of his college’s mission.

“We have a reputation for putting lawyers out in the community who understand how to put the law to work,” Easley said. “So for me, what’s really important about this is that we are doing exactly the same thing, but on a global scale.”

After sitting in on the symposium, Kareem Abou-Ramadan says his commitment to international law has been strengthened.

Kareem Abou-Ramadan, 25, a second-year law student who also attended the symposium, said he was thankful he had the opportunity to listen to and learn from the speakers.

“I have three perspectives: I’m a law student, a Muslim and I’m invested in Afghanistan because Afghanistan is part of the global Muslim community,” he said. “This event has been nothing short of spectacular because it has enlightened me to the point where I realize what I don’t know.”

The symposium was an important event for students and faculty because, he said, lawyers have a duty to use what they have learned to make the world a better place.

Abou-Ramadan, who was thinking about pursuing contractual law, said he is having second thoughts after attending the symposium.

“I can honestly say that it’s made me a little hesitant about my previous decisions,” he said. “It’s sparked an interest in international law and I can totally see myself working in this field.”

Farooqi said she was on “cloud nice” to be at the event and was impressed by the caliber of the speakers. She says she truly appreciates the life she and her family have in the United States.

“Living here is so different and every time I go back, I’m reminded of that,” she said. “Every trip I come back, I have such humbleness because I see how people live there. I’m so fortunate to be living here, to have the opportunities that I’ve been given here. I’m going to law school and I’m female and there’s nobody outside my house saying, ‘No, you can’t go to school today.’ Those are things we take for granted because we are so sheltered here and we are given so much here.”

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