When Warda Sahtout was helping children in Syria during that country’s civil war, she asked them to draw their dreams, what they hoped to be when they grew up. Almost every child sketched weapons, she said, and military uniforms and blood: They could only imagine being fighters.
She wasn’t sure what her own future would hold; she had a degree in economics but turned to field work to help because of the devastation around her. With daily worries about water, food, electricity and gas, it was hard to think far ahead. And the need was so intense and so overwhelming she couldn’t see how to have an impact.
A full scholarship to Columbia University changed that. She is studying for a master’s degree in economic political development, with a concentration in conflict resolution. She wants to work for the United Nations, to help children scarred by war . . .