Rafat Ashraf Khalaf

Junior at New York University studying Politics, Rights, and Development.

RJ Khalaf is determined to make everlasting social impact by standing up for the social and political rights of those around the world. His work in Palestinian refugee camps and his efforts in the Muslim Student Association greatly influenced his academic career. A rising junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies, RJ is concentrating on Politics, Rights, and Development. He is also pursuing a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. After growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, RJ studied abroad at NYU London during his freshman year. He served as liaison for the TEDx NYU team in London. In this role, he coordinated with the TEDx NYU team in New York and led a group of talented individuals to successfully plan two events in his first semester. RJ took time to travel extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East during his year overseas. RJ has spent many summers volunteering in refugee camps in Palestine. He is now developing an organization that creates hands-on, leadership-based workshops for Palestinian youth in refugee camps. He hopes to be a prominent leader in finding a peaceful solution where Palestinians and Israelis can live free of occupation, side by side, with security and dignity. RJ works diligently to fight Islamophobia that is perpetuated in today's world. With an unprecedented rise in hate crimes against Muslims, RJ has devoted much of his time to standing up for his community. He has been featured on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley to talk about his experience of growing up as Muslim in the United States. RJ has also appeared in interviews in multiple local and national publications. He has been awarded with the prestigious W.E.B DuBois / Nelson Mandela Commitment to Dialogue and Education Award, an award that is given to students that have improved the NYU climate through engaging peers, students, faculty, and/or staff in thoughtful dialogue and education. RJ recently completed his fellowship with the NYU Leadership Initiative, and now serves as an NYU Admissions Ambassador, the NYU Muslim Student Association’s Treasurer, a member of the Multifaith Advisory Council, and a Liberal Studies Student Leader. RJ is currently a fellow with the Muslim Public Affairs Council through the Congressional Leadership Development Program while also Interning for Congressman Andre Carson in Washington DC.

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