Amra Sabic-El-Rayess grew up in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After surviving ethnic cleansing under the Serbs’ military siege, she emigrated to the U.S. and earned an AB in Economics from Brown. Now an associate professor of practice at Columbia University’s Teachers College, she recently established a scholarship for Brown students, and spoke about her path to this decision:
"I spent years debating whether to share my story. For anyone who has lived through a tragedy, they know it is not an easy thing to do. But when entire communities are characterized as worthy of hatred and exclusion, old memories arise. They compel me to share my story with you.
"I was 'othered' in my old country as many are now othered in my new homeland. During the Bosnian genocide in 1990s, I was a teenager who couldn't grasp why my neighbors wanted to eradicate my family. How could they ever rationalize killing us? The answer was simple for them: we were Muslim.