The Founder

Sereen Banna

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Founder and Host of Young Central. Human being and lover of humanity. 

I have been the founder of Young Central for approximately two years now. Young Central is the highlight of the work I have done as a human rights defender and a social justice activist. Nonetheless, listing that this project has brought me joy does not really tell you much about who I am. I will keep it short and sweet, but I will tell you exactly what you need to know. 

I am an immigrant. I was born in Lebanon, and have spent most of my nomadic life trying to find a home. I have looked in the United States, primarily throughout California, and had no such luck. In 2009, I tried to find my home in Lebanon again. Unfortunately, I ran into no luck again. I was certain that by the time of my return to the United States in 2014, I would find my home. Unfortunately, I was wrong yet again. I am now a resident of Great Britain. I have been here for months now, and I will tell you that I might be able to find a home here, but it is improbable. I will thus conclude the story of where I have lived with this: I don't believe that I will ever find my home in a country or a place; it is not existent in a certain territory or within borders. The Earth is my home, in every aspect of the statement. I have many homes in that sense, and no home at all. It might confuse you to understand how I choose to live in such a way but I will tell you  it is the most beautiful way to live. Everyone is my cousin, everyone is my neighbour, everyone is my friend. That is the lifestyle of the Founder of Young Central. I ask very little of you as you scroll through the pages of my site, but I will request one thing: Please maintain that mentality. We are all one, we are all human, and we are all the Earth. 

If you care to know about my qualifications, here they are: I am a graduate of the University of California, Davis. At Davis I majored in Psychology with a Biological emphasis. I also graduated with dual minors in Human Rights and Political Science. Prior to Davis, I started my undergraduate degree at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. The experience of attending a junior college, especially one like College of the Canyons, shaped me into who you see today. A price-tag on an education does not make you who you are, but it does define what you want your values to be. I am a student at the University of York School of Law attaining my LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice. I will be a solicitor by October 2023. 

My work experience to date is diverse. I have worked in the retail industry, I have worked in the research industry, and I have worked in the mental health realm. I was the lead Project Coordinator for the Refugee Reproductive Health Network at University of California, Irvine Health from 2019 to 2021. The research was a contribution to the recently arrived refugee women throughout California. It collaborated with the Universities of California in San Diego, Merced, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Irvine in order to assess the needs of refugee women from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Syria. It is unfortunate to say that whilst we were focusing on the reproductive rights of refugee women, we were unable to mitigate for the threat that was to come against American women's reproductive rights. There have been other experiences that I thank for where I am today. Namely, my experience at the Article 26 Backpack as lead intern for the MENA region was a primary endeavour that led me to prioritise human rights over the pre-med route I spent 13 years of my life studying for. It is clear to you, or it should be, that most of my work has been dedicated to the refugee populations of the world. Those displaced internally and externally, those who have lost their homes and their comfort, and those who have waged wars for their freedoms have always been near and dear to my heart. They are the epitome of who my career as a human rights defender serves.

 

There is much else to say about why I have chosen human rights and the study of International Human Rights Law as the founder of this beautiful network of individuals, but we have all the time in the world to get into that. For now, please enjoy this network. Register for the mailing list, which to be honest does not mail as often as a mailing list should (I am terribly busy), listen to the episodes, and read the articles. Take what you can from it - I do this for you at the end of the day. 

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