Palestinian Teenager Begins Harvard Classes After Being Barred From U.S.

"We are pleased that Ismail’s Harvard dream will come true after all."

A Palestinian teenager who was initially barred from entering the United States is set to begin classes at Harvard.

Ismail Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Lebanese student, was detained upon arriving at Boston's Logan International Airport last month. After being questions for hours, Ajjawi was allegedly refused permission to enter the country. A few months before he had been awarded a scholarship through a UN refugee agency and was in the states to attend Harvard.  


"Against all odds, a Palestinian refugee who attended UNRWA schools in the camps of Lebanon, earns a full scholarship to Harvard, hits a roadblock, but is eventually granted entry to the U.S. to pursue his college dream," Ajjawi's lawyer told The Independent.  

According to Ajjawi, his denial was due to politically charged social media posts by his friends. Nevertheless, after the United Nations vouched for him, authorities in the U.S. reversed their decision and let him back in. 

Theodore Kattouf, who runs AMIDEAST, the organization responsible for his scholarship, was elated he was admitted.

"We are pleased that Ismail's Harvard dream will come true after all," Kattouf told The Independent. "Ismail is a bright young man whose hard work, intelligence and drive enabled him to overcome the challenges that Palestinian refugee youth continue to face in order to earn a scholarship."


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