We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
The following is a post from AUA contributing blogger Mawish Raza. Mawish is a documentary film-maker and long-time human rights activist who is now supporting AUA as a Communications Intern. Her film “Baltimore, We Love You” is now screening on college campuses.
For most of us, the holidays are a time for people to gather and for families to reconnect. But instead of spending the holidays in a familiar place with people he knows, AUA Mosaic Fellowship recipient Brian Harley is hoping to travel abroad to Morocco and spend four weeks volunteering with a children’s charity.
Brian’s story was profiled this week in The Gazette, in Maryland. Brian plans to travel to Rabat to work with Cross-Cultural Solutions as part of a caregiving program helping poor, sick and often orphaned children.
In order to volunteer, Brian needs your help to raise the remainder of the funds that he needs for his journey. Click here to donate or email Brian Harley directly at volunteerforgood(at)gmail.com for more information.
Brian first took an interest in humanitarian work when he volunteered in Salvador, Brazil in 2009. Before then, Brian’s only experience abroad had been while serving as a Marine in Iraq. Brian says military service instilled him with values like honor, courage and commitment; values that became an important part of his life.
“While I may not be on active duty any longer: once a Marine, always a Marine,” Harley said recently about his plans. “As a Marine I feel it is my duty to continue serving and this is a cause I’ve picked for myself to champion.”
In Salvador, Brian worked with Cross-Cultural Solutions as a caregiver to children with Missionaries of Charity, an organization founded by Mother Teresa. In spite of the language barrier, he recounted his trip as an enlightening experience that allowed him to explore Brazilian culture. Of his most memorable moments, Brian recalled the excitement and appreciation the kids showed as they welcomed him.
His trip to Salvador inspired him to continue volunteering and working to create positive relationships with communities abroad. Brian was enlightened by the perspective he gained through his interactions with the people of Brazil and AUA looks forward to seeing his work as a citizen diplomat continue.