At the start of the semester, a group of NYU Abu Dhabi students were inspired and enlightened by a public talk with Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). He and the organization work in remote places where healthcare is needed the most, especially in times of adversity, and offer medical best practices training and treatment to communities around the world.
The Office of Community Outreach took 32 students to the event, ranging from freshmen to seniors, to hear Dr. Abdelmoneim promote the organization's humanitarian initiatives and share his own first-hand experiences in Iraq, Haiti, South Sudan, and Sierra Leone. He talked about the true, empirical power and reach of MSF/Doctors Without Borders.
I was particularly moved when he explained why he loves MSF. He said there are very few people who have the willingness, know-how, and means of providing healthcare to the people that MSF treats. If it is not them, then who?
We were especially moved as he re-iterated time and again how he tries to be a "collector of smiles", even when his job requires refraining from physical contact due to risks of contagion. Whenever he spoke about a mission in particular, he would show selfies he had taken with local staff and patients to demonstrate that although there is nothing that can prepare you for the things you'll see on a mission, he unconditionally loves what he does and the people he works with.
Hearing about his personal experiences enlightened and inspired me. How many people would dream to have a short one-on-one conversation with a doctor from Médecins Sans Frontières? After listening to this talk, I believe I have a new goal in life.