Political changes sweeping through the Middle East have reached Yemen. On April 23, 2011 its long time ruler, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, agreed to a deal to step down in 30 days in exchange for immunity. CUNY Baccalaureate student Raja Althaibani has been on the ground, covering the events. Accepted to the program for the fall 2011 semester, she traveled to Yemen giving true meaning to idea of citizen journalism. CUNY BA students can find out about the political turmoil in the Middle East from one of their own.
In CUNY BA Althaibani is pursuing dual Areas of Concentration in “Human Rights” and “International Law.” She has been taking interdisciplinary courses in Literature, History, and Philosophy. At the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference she served as a John Jay College representative to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. In recommending Althaibani to the program, Professor George Andreopoulos, Director of the Center for International Human Rights at John Jay, praised her strong analytical skills and her first-rate performance in the course on the United Nations System.
Althaibani dedicated her academic and political life to the idea of social justice and human rights. Since her early days, she has been emerged in political activism following international news and paying close attention to the developments in her parents’ homeland, Yemen. They have witnessed its gradual decline, with social, political, and economical issues breaking the country apart. Determined to bring positive changes to Yemen, Althaibani is currently covering the uprising. She works as a citizen photojournalist and media stringer for CNN and MSNBC and has been a frequent guest on NPR’s The Takeaway.
Describing her feelings on the revolution, Althaibani wrote: “I have never been more proud to be a Yemeni then now, in this very moment. I have never been more proud and honored to be alive to witness such a transformation of human character and behavior. At a time when we witness the worst of atrocities like that of Libya, when in the face of brutal repression are acts of integrity, unity and brotherhood. This puts me at ease. And because of this, most importantly, I have never been more proud to be human”.
Witnessing the Spring of Nations in the Middle East, Althaibani gives voice to the ordinary people. She contributes to her goal of making the world a better place providing us with an example of what a just and decent human being can do.
To follow Raja’s reports from Yemen: