Elena Khaled

New York, NY, United States

About Elena

Bio

In the fall of 2009, while studying in Burkina Faso, I spent four days in Bolgatanga at a library promoting literacy in north-eastern Ghana. I spent the weekend classifying donated books, learning lessons on zero sum aid and growing a profound appreciation for walled-in latrines. On the drive back to Ouagadougou, offended by my own odor in the back seat of the van whose door no longer closed, it occurred to me that the events of the weekend had fundamentally reoriented my academic and personal objectives. In Burkina, I experienced the difference between studying a social issue and living through it, between a theoretical classroom discussion and a tangible experience of solidarity. Since then, I have tried, to varying degrees of success, to recreate that mindfulness and the unwavering purposefulness that came with it.

Education has helped me widen my professional ambitions. As an Arabic studies minor, I widened my scope of understanding. I remember tears of rage burning my cheeks as I read Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations and heralding Edward Said's Orientalism as the manual for post-colonial analysis. As I read more, I gained a more nuanced understanding of the deeply intertwined histories of the Eurocentric West and often mislabeled East. In college, I was able to sew together my French and Political Science majors with the thread of Arab-Islamic studies. Through Voltaire's Zadig and Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes, I revisited current stereotypes and prejudices in the context of 18th century French philosophy. As a representative of the United States, I hope to similarly dispel negative attitudes about American culture by emphasizing global stewardship, cultural sensitivity and diplomacy in my personal conduct.

Languages

English, French, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Languages, Writing, compassion

I'm passionate about

freedom of information, any process that enables two parties to better understand each other, languages, the internet, foreign affairs, enriching conversation, sharing the human experience, ponyo

Talk to me about

the quantum computer, empathy, compassion, dream interpretation, horoscopes, etymology, bit-coins, TOR, grammar, college radio, meme culture, travel, food, religion, riddles

People don't know I'm good at

drawing ink portraits of pets in Victorian costumes

Comments & conversations

144579
Elena Khaled
Posted over 3 years ago
Our Artists and Musicians of the future at risk of extinction?
I don't think artists or musicians will ever die out. The way we organize our school systems may stifle some sort of formal training, but as long as we have capacity for thought we will have capacity for creative and individual expression. so rest easy there... I would like to touch on one thing though that I find upsetting. The division between Art and Music and English papers, math problems, and sports. This is not something, Mandy, that I think you are alone in doing. We are all taught that these subjects are separate and completely unrelated to one another. It would be much more fruitful to go back to a pedagogy that highlights the intersection of all these schools of thought. Art = Geometry = Math = Music = Poetry = English = History = Geography = Geology = Chemistry = Physics = Sports you get the idea! haha, I think some of the subjects are a bit of a leap, but I hope I illustrated my point. Thanks for your question Mandy!
144579
Elena Khaled
Posted over 3 years ago
What's Your Favorite Dinosaur?
I love barney. I believe he was a t-rex with uncharacteristically long arms and an amazing capacity for self-control, considering he never ate the children he played with!
144579
Elena Khaled
Posted over 3 years ago
How immune should science be from the political environment of its time?
Great question Samantha! What is and what ought to be are two different things. Science, not just research and medical advances, but also technology and its impact on our community, cannot operate outside of the social constraints that govern us. Humans, in my experience, are political animals most often motivated by their own prejudices and priorities. We (as a community, country, society what have you) also need to redefine/ clarify what we mean by science...The ability to do something does not always have to translate into a policy--but more often than not, people who feel they "don't understand science" feel compelled (often by fear) to stop it.