In 2017, we invited Abdulahalnaser Dhurgham Naser, also known by friends as Abdulla Al Mosawi, a 20-year old dental student from Baghdad, to speak about the effects of armed conflict on the mental health of adolescents at our Global Adolescent Health Conference. His powerful message to us—that we must invest in teaching adolescents about the importance of mutual aid and solidarity in order to subvert war and terrorism—resonated deeply with conference attendees, who gave Abdulla a standing ovation.
This month, we learned that Abdulla has graduated from Dentistry school. Over the past year, he also launched an online learning platform for dental students called ‘Bagdent for Learning,’ inviting dentists to submit lectures and resources so that students can continue to learn virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are delighted to see how far Abdulla has come since participating in our Global Adolescent Health Conference, and to share with you his end-of-year message to us:
“I am Abdulla, from Iraq. In 2017 I was speaker in Global Adolescents Health Conference by CanWaCH. When I spoke in the conference I was student in the school of dentistry at Baghdad University. Today I am happy to tell you that I’m Dentist. I graduated this year. And after these years since the conference of 2017, I still happily remember how it was amazing to see our voices heard as young people from conflict zones in Middle East. It was very helpful to see that people abroad are listening and CARE. I still remember how it was emotional for me and for my family who was watching the live video from the conference with me. I remember that all my friends shared the video link of my speech celebrating with me. In 2020 what I would like to say to everyone in the world, we the young generation of Iraq are ambitious, smart and kind and we care about you all. We want to make the world a better place and we surely would do everything so nobody would face the terrible life that we faced as young people growing up in place of conflict.
Sending you all LOVE from Iraq to Canada and to everywhere.”