Feras Fahed Abushaar grew up in Kuwait knowing precisely the damage that conflict could cause. Both his Syrian father and Palestinian mother had lost their homelands to war. The family television blared dire news daily, until one day he grabbed the remote and changed the station.
That moment becomes a powerful symbol for his life going forward — seizing opportunity and helping bring about change. As the student speaker at the International and Area Studies graduation last week, Abushaar told that story as part of a strong statement about UC Berkeley’s place as a force for empowering positive change in the world.