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Region’s Youngest MD Aims To Give Back

Iqbal El-Assaad has broken two records: one for each decade of her life. At 14 she was the region’s youngest university student; this year, the twenty-year-old is its youngest medical doctor, having just graduated from Weill Cornell Medical College’s Qatar branch.

She has six more years–of residency and specialization in pediatric cardiology–before she can achieve her life goal: “to come back to the Middle East and work between Qatar and Lebanon – to pay Qatar back,” Assaad explains, for sponsoring her studies. “I also want to go back to Lebanon to help my Palestinian people, because they are the main inspiration for me to be a doctor, and I would like to fulfill my childhood dream of making a difference in their lives.

Specifically, her dream is “to open a free clinic for the Palestinians in the camp and to help them out as much as I possibly can.” Once a helpless child witness to suffering, she is one step closer to bringing healing to her people’s future.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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