NOOR NAJAFI is a senior at Eastside High School in Gainsville, FL. As an Afghan-American living in the U.S. after September 11th, Noor is familiar with blind prejudice and harassment. Serving as the president of the school’s International Student Organization for the last two years, Noor has inspired his fellow students to experience diverse cultures by promoting social and multi-cultural exchange. Recognizing that young students need a means of self-expression to reflect on many topics, including prejudice, conflict resolution, and their dreams for the future, Noor established the Dream Vision Literary Project at a local elementary school. He has devoted hundreds of hours of his time to the program, which produces a monthly magazine containing student works. Understanding that meaningful change must occur politically, Noor has been active on the local, state, and national level promoting candidates who are attempting to heal the wounds caused by intolerance and racism. Noor is described by one of his teachers as “not simply passing through, but actually forming and shaping the world he would like to live in.” Another one of his teachers points out that “Noor’s heart and soul are infused with a spirit akin to the brave young girl, Anne Frank, whose being has moved and transformed millions.”
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