Immigrant members of the MIT community
I was born in Tripoli, Lebanon in 1989 — the same year the civil war ended. I grew up listening to stories of how my parents narrowly escaped the horrors of a sectarian civil war. My parents enrolled us in a secular school, and I didn’t know who among my best friends were Christians or Muslims until I was in middle school. It didn’t really matter to us.
By the time I entered high school, politics had started creeping into our daily lives. From high school through undergrad, I had to live through a couple of wars and a series of political assassinations. They were frustrating; they made me feel helpless. At the same time, it was heartwarming to witness how people came together for humanitarian support in times of war and struggles.
When I came to the U.S. for graduate school in 2011, my first pleasant shock was to see that there were no political distractions. I could simply focus all my time on what I loved doing: research and exploration. Today, as an assistant professor at MIT, I wish my students had that same luxury. Somehow, divisive politics made its way into people’s lives in the US over the past year. But I am hopeful: growing up in Lebanon has taught me that such precarious times bring people together toward common, higher goals.
Fadel Adib is an Assistant Professor in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Editor's note: Tech Transfers is a photo series by Professor Daniel Jackson that features immigrant members of MIT.