Palestinian Girls Win 4th Place at Largest Science Fair in the World

Last week at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, PA a project from Hebron, Palestine took the 4th place award in the category of Plant Sciences.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the premiere science competition in the world. ISEF brings together more than 1500 high school scientists from 65 countries to present their research and compete for over $3 million in prizes and scholarships. Finalists are selected from more than 7 million students who participated in science fairs around the world.

Students Asil Shehadeh and Rawan Skafi from Hebron, Palestine won fourth place in Plant Sciences for their project “The Crying Plant” where Asil and Rawan designed an irrigation system that keeps soil moist during carbon measurement.

Asil and Rawan competed against students from all over the world including the United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil and 60 other countries. Their triumph is a testament to the resilience, determination and sumood of the Palestinian people. Regardless of the lack of facilities, mentors and experience these students remained steadfast in their research and refused to allow any disadvantages they had hold them back from shooting for the top prizes. To that end, Rawan and Asil were very successful.

Having been in the audience when the award was announced, it is hard to put into words the excitement and pride I felt watching as Asil and Rawan walked up on stage with a Kuffiyeh around their necks, head held high raising their medals. I couldn’t help but think that this, Rawan and Asils contribution to science as Palestinians from Palestine, was the greatest form of resistance. It served as a reminder to the world that not only are Palestinians still around, but we are  educated, articulate and capable of making major contributions to the world.

I want to say to Rawan and Asil and all the Palestinian students at ISEF, on behalf of all Palestinians- Thank you. Thank you for surpassing the obstacles that challenge you on a day to day basis and putting Palestine’s name on the map. Thank you for using science to resist the oppression you face. Thank you for embodying Palestinian sumood and reminding the world that Palestine is destined for success.

Below you can find a few videos taken of the ingenious students presenting their projects:

Mahmoud Iriqat from Abu Dis, Jerusalem, Palestine

Woroud Alrimawi from Beit Rima, Ramallah, Palestine

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About Adam Akkad
Adam Akkad is a Palestinian-American student at The George Washington University. He is editor in chief of Beyond Compromise. Follow him on Twitter @Abou_Charlie

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