Mariam Mohammad, FHS MPH student, received on July 1, 2022 the Diana Award for her remarkable humanitarian efforts. She is the first Palestinian to receive this honor. Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award recognizes young people who have made significant impact in five areas —vision, social impact, inspiring others, youth leadership, and service journey. Nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide, which measure the quality of youth social action. Mariam recalls, “I was thrilled when I was nominated for the Diana Award. To be honest, I never thought that I could win because it is a very competitive process.”
Mariam, aged 22, is a young Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon. In 2021, Mariam joined the MPH program at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) after receiving the prestigious scholarship of Research and Training on Tropical Diseases from the World Health Organization (WHO). She is also the recipient of the One League scholarship that sponsors a micro master in entrepreneurship at Stanford University and an MBA degree at One League (Harvard-based curriculum). Mariam got selected by Harvard University to participate in the Harvard Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program (1.3 % acceptance rate) and ranked among the top 5% in her cohort. Finally, she got selected by the US embassy in Lebanon to attend the MEPI Students Leaders Program at Portland State University to study leadership and civic engagement over summer 2019.
Mariam is an international motivational speaker and mentor. So far, she has mentored over 3200 young men and women internationally. She is the founder of two initiatives in Lebanon—‘Alam W Mahay’ and ‘Tamkeen’. "I am a keen observer. I used to wonder as a child why there are so many children in the street; why they aren’t at school, like me. When I grew up, I realized that I cannot just sit there and wait. I needed to do something! So, I established ‘Alam W Mahay’ initiative to teach street children writing and reading. A few months later, I created another initiative, ‘Tamkeen,’ to enhance the quality of educational services and develop the soft skills of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon,” Mariam said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariam worked with an international team of researchers in Nigeria to conduct studies on health policies and public health. At the same time, she was volunteering with the epidemiological surveillance center for COVID-19 in Lebanon as a call center agent. In summer 2021, she served as a leadership mentor for MENA youth at Georgetown University, guiding and mentoring them on how to create impactful projects in their communities. Mariam has also worked with the WHO on drafting a resolution on mental health services in Lebanon. She joined the Hult Prize Foundation, the world’s largest competition to solve the world’s toughest social challenges, as the youngest director for two university campuses, and later as an intern.
“I feel happy when I help someone! Empowering others is my hobby,” Mariam has lots of plans for the future. She’s particularly interested in health policies and neglected tropical diseases.“I need to be realistic. These are really complicated issues. But, we have to start somewhere.”