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Travel

From Palestine to PIVOT — I never stop learning from Asma Jaber!

In March 2013, I went on a spring break trek to Palestine with a a bunch of HKS students, led by Asma Jaber.  I was thinking about going to Morocco, China, or some other trek, but after learning a bit about… Continue Reading →

Lessons from our visit to the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights

As part of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Asia Leadership Trek, my 40 classmates and I visited the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights in Seoul to learn about the abhorrent human rights situation in North Korea.  Personally, I have… Continue Reading →

Yangon, a Cursory Introduction to Myanmar

With any visit to a new place, fully knowing a country is impossible, much less with a brief visit to one city, especially if that city one of the wealthiest cities in a poor country. But from my few days… Continue Reading →

“Come with Me. I have to show you something.” My Conversation with a Burmese Monk

Walking barefoot on wet marbled floors of the Shwedagon Pagoda, I tried to serenely be present and absorb the glittering beauty that is the Shwedagon Pagoda while sheepishly snapping photos like any other tourist. I inched around the main pagodas,… Continue Reading →

Myanmar: A Long Arduous Journey towards Democracy

  “Minglaba!” The kind faces of several women wearing beautiful longyis greeted the trekkers and welcomed us into the headquarter office of the National League for Democracy. Larger-than-life banners and posters of Aung San Suu Kyi, or “The Lady” of… Continue Reading →

6 Destinations in Asia, 40 Students, 30 Days: The HKS Asia Leadership Trek

Days after my graduation, I took off with a bunch of my classmates and friends for the HKS Asia Leadership Trek, which is a “unique, overseas learning experience that exposes young professionals to the Asia region through active engagement and… Continue Reading →

Research trip to Lebanon

Happy New Year everyone! I returned from Lebanon a week ago to conduct interviews with my classmate Laila Matar to work on our Policy Analysis Exercise together. I will write more about my trip to Lebanon in a separate post,… Continue Reading →

A Memory from my trip to North Korea

Me and some of my friends at the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il statues in Pyongyang, the first stop on our tour in North Korea. During my recent trip to North Korea that I co-organized for 24 Harvard… Continue Reading →

Greetings from the Kingdom of Bahrain!

I flew into the Kingdom of Bahrain from Doha this morning. This small island country along the Persian Gulf with a population of about 1.2 million (which includes about 600,000 non-Bahrainis who work in the country) is rich in its… Continue Reading →

A hot summer day in Doha, Qatar (read: 108 degrees!)

I started off my travels to the Gulf countries a few days ago, starting off in Dubai (I will write more about Dubai on my second visit to UAE next week), and landed in Doha, Qatar.  I felt the rush… Continue Reading →

Dedications to new and old friends for an unforgettable summer in Türkiye

Countless people have helped make an unforgettable summer for me in Turkiye. Though I cannot cover everyone (that’d be impossible!), I want to call out a few friends who I am so grateful to have met (or reconnect with) this… Continue Reading →

A few hidden treasures of Ankara

Before coming to Ankara, I was warned that it was not the most exciting city of Turkey. Leaving hesitations aside, I decided to spent two months in this city and I was pleasantly surprised by the rich history and fun… Continue Reading →

America’s 237th Birthday Party in Turkey

  A U.S. diplomat I worked for in Berlin years ago is currently stationed in the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, and invited me to the U.S. Independence Day Party at US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone’s residence. Several hundred people from Ankara’s… Continue Reading →

Istanbul (Part II) with Merve!

I made my way to Istanbul again to see Merve, the beautiful sister of Emre Sargin, who was a colleague and friend from Google. She and I met up with her friends who also live in Istanbul and we drove… Continue Reading →

A Girls’ Weekend in Izmir and Ephesus

My classmate and co-intern Anita and I flew to Izmir to see this beautiful seaside town and to visit Ephesus. We saw the covered Bazaar, the historic synagogues, the countless bars and cafes that lined the water, and hung out… Continue Reading →

Cappadocia, the land of beautiful horses

Cappadocia (“the land of beautiful horses) is located in Central Anatolia, sort of in the middle of Turkey. With rich religious and historical significance, this high-traffic tourist destination was surely worth the 6-hour ride from Ankara.  The sophisticated underground cities… Continue Reading →

My first Iftar dinner!

Last Friday, a great new friend Ünal took me to Kugulu Park in Kizilay, Ankara to participate in an Iftar dinner. A special guest, Professor Dr. Ihsan Eliacik was also there to break fast as well (he’s the man in the… Continue Reading →

…And then he said in perfect English, “Welcome to Turkey”

My world-traveller former roommate from Vienna (Latasha Wilson) who is currently a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey met me in Istanbul this past weekend, which turned out to be truly unforgettable.  This city, where history meets modernity, was everything  that I… Continue Reading →

First few days in Ankara, Türkiye (Part II of II)

I walked over to the Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum) today to spend some time learning about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence, and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. Most of the other… Continue Reading →

First few days in Ankara, Türkiye (Part I of II)

I arrived in Ankara, Turkey a few days ago, and I’ve been having a blast so far. It’s an extraordinarily clean, modern, and welcoming city with attractive young people who smoke, drink,  hang out, and have a good time. Anita… Continue Reading →

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