Law scholarship named after Maher Arar | CBC News
University of Ottawa has a special place in my heart, being my alma mater and home for many years. This new scholarship is a wonderful token of appreciation on the part of the university.
Last year, Arar was the keynote speaker at the Graduation Dinner I had the honour of emceeing. His advice to the graduates was simple - never underestimate your own worth, and don't back down if others try to compromise or undermine your worth.
"The scholarship was initiated by Tyseer Aboulnasr, an electrical engineering professor at the university and a member of the Canadian Muslim Network, Leslie added."
On a somewhat related note, Dr. Aboulnasr was the dean of the Faculty of Engineering when I started at the university. It was quite a pleasant surprise for me, to see a Muslim woman in hijab in such a respected position. Her first address to the new students included these memorable words:
"Now, I know a lot of you are coming from out of town, and you believe university is all about freedom, and that Engineering is all about drinking and partying. But there are lots of extremely successful Engineers who have never had a single drop of alcohol in their lives, including myself!"
That statement made me feel a little more comfortable with the fate that brought me to Ottawa against my own hopes and desires. As the years progressed, I realized why I ended up there; I truly believe it was one of the best things that happened to me. We all have our own plans, but Allah has His plans. And surely, He is the best of planners.