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    MSM Student Buoyed by Hope for Egypt

    MSM student Maria Habib sees inspiration and hope in the transformation of her Egyptian birthplace.

    MSM Student Buoyed by Hope for Egypt

    As protests rocked Egypt’s Tahrir Square in early 2011 and scenes of chaos unfolded on the news, third-year medical student Maria Habib was waiting breathlessly to see what course her country’s future would take. She was astonished at what she saw.

    “In Egypt, you can’t speak out against the government without serious consequences. It was incredible to me that the protests were even happening, that people were speaking up,” Habib says.

    Habib’s family left Egypt and the shadow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 1985. Her parents, both physicians trained in Egypt, began a new life in Atlanta, where close ties to family and a local church made Habib’s decision to attend a nearby medical school an easy one. Her mother had received her medical licensing at Emory, but it was Morehouse School of Medicine that drew Habib.

    “I liked MSM’s mission of working with the underserved. And being a minority – it’s something I can identify with,” says Habib, whose Christian faith places her in a religious minority among Egyptians.

    Habib’s faith gave her hope during the first week of protests for a new beginning in Egypt. Together with members of the Coptic Orthodox Church across the U.S., Habib fasted and prayed for three days for peace and safety in Egypt. “The protests were getting out of hand,” she says. “A friend of mine was visiting in a neighborhood close by, and he said there was lots of looting and gun shots.”

    As the demonstrations continued, however, Habib’s fears turned into excitement and optimism. Mubarak stepped down, and the Egyptian army promised to bring democratic change – the same army in which her grandfather had once served.

    Still, it was the unity that Habib witnessed among Christian and Muslim Egyptians during the 18-day revolution that moved her most. “I saw Christians protecting Muslims and Muslims protecting Christians. They were able to put their differences aside and come together for a single cause. It was amazing,” she says.

    Those images of unity give Habib reason to believe in a better future for Egypt, despite continuing political uncertainty and economic hardship in the region. “I hope whoever takes office will give everyone a say, including minorities. Muslims and Christians can work together to build a better country,” she says.

    Read Habib’s interview with CBS Atlanta here.


    About Morehouse School of Medicine
    Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) recruits and trains minority and other students as physicians, biomedical scientists and public health professionals committed to improving the health and well-being of communities. MSM is a member of the largest consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the world – the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC). For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, visit us online at www.msm.edu.