This blog post was contributed by Urwah Ahmad, Global Communications Fellow at Meridian International Center.
When I first started my fellowship at Meridian in February 2020, I never knew what the year ahead would bring. However, I never imagined my time in D.C. would be cut short so quickly. I also never imagined how flawless the transition would be. Lastly, I never knew that my imposter syndrome would be cured. As I sit from the comfort of my home writing this, I’d appreciate it if you all to lend me an ear as I talk about what this year and what Meridian has meant to me.
This past year has been full of ups and downs, and I have grown both personally and professionally, which has been such an incredible experience. I’ve watched as my co-workers got through the obstacles that the ongoing COVID-19 situation has presented and took necessary steps internally and externally in response to the various crises, from the pandemic to racial injustice. Their passion for the work that they do can be heard through their excited voices at our meetings and through the presentation and execution of their work. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this team.
I have had the opportunity to listen to the incredible global leaders, to speak with and tell the stories of the exchange alumni doing amazing work all around the world, and to get a glimpse into the international relations world. As I worked with Meridian’s Communications team, learning from each other and bouncing around ideas, I tried my best to soak in everything through the process of osmosis. There was not a day that went by where I was not learning something new.
This year and Meridian have helped to boost my confidence and supported me in advancing my communication and social skills, all while letting me learn about topics ranging from the State Department, foreign exchange programs, diplomacy and Meridian’s expansive body of work, especially as we celebrated Meridian’s 60th Anniversary. As I look back at the year there was been so much I was able to accomplish and support on, from our various campaigns and events to the first-ever virtual Meridian Summit. This fellowship experience has shown me that I know what I’m doing and it has allowed me to put my ideas into action for an organization and a wonderful group of people.
I will be carrying these experiences and the skills I have gained into my future endeavors. One other thing I will take with me, because it resonated strongly with me, is Meridian’s mission and tagline: “We are stronger at home when globally engaged.” As a child of immigrants, it is hard not to think of Pakistan and the connections I have there. It was so insightful and amazing to be able to make connections through this sentiment. I can also relate to these words on a personal level because as I was trying to understand, navigate and engage, somewhere along the way, while supporting Meridian’s efforts and redesign its communications, I think I found part of myself, too.
I could not have asked for a better team to have worked with, at a great organization working to advance an inspiring mission. I sincerely want to once again thank everyone at Meridian for being so welcoming, passionate and authentic, and I am so proud to be able to say that I have worked alongside all of you amazing people!