Thursday, February 6, 2020
Hassan Essa '19, a recent graduate of UNH Manchester's politics and society program

"In Our Own Voices" is a photo and story gallery celebrating diversity and the voices that make the UNH Manchester community a wonderful place to live, learn and grow. Their stories are our story—and we are proud to tell it. UNH Manchester graduate Hassan Essa '19, an Air Force member who fled Kuwait with his family when he was just two years old, shares his story below.

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When I came to Manchester as a refugee in 2000, my life's path changed in a way for which I am incredibly grateful. Being raised in Manchester has shaped me. I am proud to say that I grew up and attended school in this city. There is a profound sense of community in Manchester, which has contributed to my passion for public service. If my family had stayed in Kuwait or had been sent to a different country, there is no guarantee that I would be the same. I have been lucky to be in a position where I can accomplish a lot and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

"Being raised in Manchester has shaped me."

I joined the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 2015 to kick start my career in public service and as a way of giving thanks for who I am today. In 2017, I ran for Alderman in Manchester. Learning more about my neighbors and my city was an overwhelming experience. I learned that people want to see their neighborhoods and communities come closer together.

With my political science degree, my overarching goal is to bring communities closer. People who feel unified can help bring positivity and progress to the world.

Photographer: 
David Vogt | Freelance Photographer