The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Intern Ali Kelkawi

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Student employees at the Rockefeller Center come from all kinds of backgrounds, but there is perhaps no background more unique than that of Ali Kelkawi, a 19-year-old rising junior at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) who is finishing up a four week internship at Dartmouth. 

Ali explains that Dartmouth College and the University of Kuwait have an exchange program that sends two to three interns to Hanover for a month each summer to participate in different types of campus programs.  He explains that it has been an enduring program, as his two supervisors are alumni of the same internship.  Ali says that he first decided to apply because,  "when I heard the opportunity for a month-long internship in the US, I thought why not?  It's the best way to spend the summer."

Ali, originally from Iraq, spent the first two weeks of his month in Hanover working at Dartmouth's Rassias Center for World Languages and Cultures, a program with the goal of "enriching lives by improving communication among people."  Kelkawi worked as an Arabic teacher for the program, explaining that it was a very useful experience in teaching him the virtue of patience  "It's very overwhelming teaching Arabic to four people aged 17 to almost 60, one of them being a university professor.  And so that was quite an experience--it taught me to be much more patient."

With the Rockefeller Center, Ali has been attending class lectures and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) sessions.  He says, "I'm always excited to attend leadership sessions because they're all different, and you can pretty much learn something new from every single one of them."  The YALI sessions excite him in particular because of the different and unique perspectives of members in the program.

The transition of spending a month alone in the US itself doesn't faze Ali, but he says it is very hard to spend this particular month away from his family, as it overlaps almost perfectly with the month of Ramadan.  In spite of the difficulty he faces being so far from his family in such an important month, Ali cites the close friends he made in the Rassias Program to be a highlight of his experience at Dartmouth, and some of the biggest takeaways from this program as he prepares to return to Kuwait. 

-Written by Doug Phipps '17, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant 

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