Asmatullah Azizi Arab
“You have the capacity to do more than you think you can. You just need to let your thoughts wander freely to find your true passion and place. That’s when you become unstoppable.”
April 2019—Asmatullah Azizi Arab, an Afghan refugee who has built a new life in Canada, was the guest speaker for the annual Green Carpet Celebration, embodying Branksome’s values of optimism and resilience.
Growing up in Kabul, he dreamed of shaping a better world, especially for impoverished children. In Grade 10 he was accepted to the Army and Navy Academy military school in California. Soon after, Asmat’s family received a death threat from the Taliban.
“[They] believed I was being trained as a spy,” he said. After the Trump administration issued a travel ban on Muslim countries, he realized returning home would be a “death sentence.” Unable to renew his student visa, he sought asylum in Canada. Through family friends he met Cory Miller, the Branksome guidance counsellor who became his legal guardian and helped him to secure a scholarship to Ridley College.
“If she had not believed in me, I simply wouldn’t be here today,” said Asmat. “I have a vision for the future of my country and I had promised myself that, no matter what, I will help transform Afghanistan to be a stable country,” he said.
Asmat is now at Huron University College on a full scholarship, pursuing the next phase of his dream.
Watch Asmat’s talk here.