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From the Depths of Lebanon’s Volatile Tripoli, This 11-year-old Student Was Crowned World Genius

“Nothing is impossible as long as there is a strong will,” said his father with a proud shining face. His son, 11-year-old Mohammad al-Mir, came in first place in the annual Junior Mental Calculation World Championship held in Germany last October, after beating dozens of participants from more than 40 countries.

The three-day contest awarded him with the title of “World junior Genius”, but for Mir, this is not the first time. This brilliant 11 year old student was crowned already in his first competition in Lebanon, in 2012, and also won a trip to Japan in 2013 to participate in a training camp on mental calculation.

His family and friends celebrated with fireworks in the humble neighborhood of Abi Samra in Tripoli, where he lives. In Tripoli, the volatile security situation and recurring violence often prevents students from attending school, but Mir prepared thoroughly with the support of his parents and tutors. “I want to tell the children of Tripoli that they should not think about war, but focus on science and (acquiring) knowledge,” he told Lebanon’s Daily Star.

For more information: Visit the Junior Mental Calculation World Championship’s Facebook page.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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