Syed "Onik" Kamal '11 says he knew at a very young age that helping people would be foremost in whatever career he might choose. Studying at Earlham has only reinforced that idea.
Growing up in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Kamal says he heard stories about how his grandparents helped others in his village. As a young boy, he went with his father to help people in rural areas that had been hit by cyclones and storms.
He wants to extend this idea of helping others and work as an international civil servant or a diplomat. Already he has accumulated a wealth of experience.
In addition to a 2008 Kathryn Wasserman Davis Project for Peace grant that placed him in Sierra Leone giving art workshops to former child soldiers, Kamal has had internships or similar work experiences in Jordan, Madrid, Boston, Chicago and New York.
"If not directly through Earlham, it was by means of Earlham that I was given these amazing opportunities," he says. "Earlham gave me, most importantly, this notion or this abstract gift, of becoming a lifelong learner. At Earlham you learn to learn, and that's a big responsibility. You have to educate for it."
Kamal, who is fluent in five languages and conversational in three others, says that during his time at Earlham he realized that he could be a bridge between people and the government.
"I want to make a change and this change-making attitude has become ingrained in me here at Earlham," he says. "I see myself making that change and putting my education into practice in international diplomacy."
Syed "Onik" Kamal 2011
Hometown: Chittagong, Bangladesh
Major at Earlham: International Studies