This Friday we are celebrating the work of Anya Jameson ’17, a senior at Gettysburg College who is originally from Gettysburg, PA. Anya is a Political Science major and a Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies minor, whose most active involvement at Gettysburg is as co-founder and President of Refugee Action Committee. This group, which is only in its second year at Gettysburg, runs many fundraisers to raise money for various organizations that aim to support refugees. This spring, the group will be running a Refugee Rights week, with a CUB table and events including a movie night and a guest speaker. As a leader of the club, Anya wants to show Gettysburg students the ways they can lobby the government to get more rights for refugees, especially Syrian refugees.

Anya first became interested in the Middle East during high school when she took AP World History. Her class studied Islamic history, and her interest was sparked. When she came to Gettysburg College, she was pleased to see that the college offers Arabic as a language, and she decided to take it; she enjoyed it so much that she continued to study the language for three years. The fall of her junior year she studied abroad in Palestine, and last summer she worked in Germany as an English-Arabic translator for Syrian refugees there.

With graduation approaching, Anya hopes to continue her work with refugees and human rights after college. She envisions taking a year off after graduation to continue her work as a translator in Germany, and then possibly go to DC to work for a Think Tank where she can lobby for more rights for refugees. Anya wants to change the U.S. political agenda towards refugees to make it easier for them to come to the U.S. Anya says, “Refugee rights are human rights. We should all care about the Syrian refugee crisis because refugees can be an integral part of society; they can help us develop and bring new ideas to our country and to Western countries in general. It is important to care about refugees, and we should make the system work for them; we need to stop associating refugees with ISIS and Assad. Refugees have other identities besides being refugees.”

Thank you for all your inspiring work Anya!