Man whose family fled Iraq an Ohio student leader

FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) — A young man whose family left the
violent turmoil of Iraq has become a campus leader at a southwest Ohio
college with a fast-growing international student population.
Fady
Al-Banna, a 23-year-old senior, is the director of international
affairs for student government at Wright State University. He is also on
a dean of students advisory board.
New international students at Wright State increased by 42 percent last fall to 1,477, the school says.

Al-Banna said he enjoys the diversity of Wright State and appreciates the efforts to recruit students
from other countries.
"That’s beautiful," he said.
His
family left Iraq in 2007 after his father had a harrowing escape when
two men abducted him in his car at gunpoint. The family of four moved to
Lebanon, and then to the United States in 2009.
He and his
brother initially attended Dayton’s Sinclair Community College, where
Fady started and led the International Club. They transferred to Wright
State, where he is a finance major and brother Bashar is studying
electrical engineering.
His mother didn’t want him to seek a student leadership position because of the time commitment, but he
couldn’t stay away.
"This is me," he said.
"What
I really like about Wright State is the student government body,"
Al-Banna said. "The students are being represented every day in various
ways. Student government is advocating for these students."
Al-Banna
helped recruit 20 international students for the Raiderthon dance
benefit that raised more than $50,000 for Dayton Children’s Hospital
last November. He also suggested and helped organize a panel of
international students for International Education week in November.
"Since
meeting Fady, I’ve not only gained knowledge about Iraq, but also how
politics and government can change a person’s life," said Kyle Powell,
vice president of the school’s student government. "Fady has been
someone who you can talk to about anything, and he respects your
values."
Al-Banna had just come from helping a student in a wheelchair get to a meeting with his professor and to
a lab.
"We need to welcome and help disabled students and other students in need," he said.
He
believes his planned future career as a financial planner is another
way to help people, by helping them to financial stability.
"I want to influence people and make a difference in their lives," he said.
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