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Monday, February 11, 2019

Inspired by Leadership Minor, Alumnus Helps Local Refugee Families

Abdullah Jadallah and club members donating supplies to refugees.
Abdullah Jadallah (second from left), president of the Saudi Students Club.

The idea was hatched at a fundraising event coordinated by the Saudi Students Club at San Diego State University. The resulting project saw the students to provide rice and cooking oil to 90 needy and refugee families in San Diego.

Abdullah Jadallah, president of the Saudi Students Club and an International Security and Conflict Resolution graduate from SDSU, said the inspiration for the fundraising event and the distribution of the rice and oil was the result of one of his leadership minor classes in the College of Education.

“Being a president of a club is something challenging just by itself,” said Jadallah, adding that COE faculty member Dr. Lisa Gates, director of the Leadership Minor, inspired him to challenge himself and go out and help his community.

“I chose to distribute food supplies for people in need as well as refugees because I have interned with (the) International Rescue Committee where I saw how much people are so in need of just basic food supplies.”

After the fundraiser, the group of students—Jadallah, another club member and seven other volunteers, including one from California State University San Marcos—identified a local organization to help them select the refugee families who would receive the food.

They worked with the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA), a research, public policy and community organizing group dedicated to furthering the economic, social and civic inclusion of refugees.

With the money collected last spring, the group headed to Costco and bought 130 bags of rice—each containing 25 pounds—and 145 gallons of cooking oil. They then secured a private location where they were able to distribute the supplies to 90 families.

“Our organization attended the PANA annual meeting … where our team assembled a line along our truck for people to receive their supplies,” said Jadallah, who is currently studying for his Graduate Record Examinations and has applied to the top 20 U.S. graduate schools in International Relations for the Fall of 2019. “I would like to pursue a career that bridges cultures, along with solving economic problems internationally through collaboration with non-governmental organizations.”

The Saudi Students Club is an international student organization that helps to bridge Saudi and American cultures and provides Saudi students with a comprehensive experience while studying at SDSU.