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Humanitarian Blog

New Blog: Humanitarian Work At MIT by The Humanitarian Blog

My name is Ali Wyne, and I'll be this year's host for the new Humanitarian Blog.

My name is Ali Wyne, and I’ll be this year’s host for the new Humanitarian Blog. I wanted to have an area devoted to the many people at MIT who are working to change the plight of the world’s impoverished – whether by war or famine or disease or any of the other myriad ills that afflict so many. This blog will be for, and about, them.

To tell you a bit about me… I’m a senior in Management and Political Science. It wasn’t supposed to be that way because my heart was set on Economics when I got into MIT. Having been on autopilot during high school, I decided to take a year off to learn more about myself and figure out what my interests were. I deliberately decided not to come up with a plan for that year. Sure, I did some things here and there — my family and I traveled to Pakistan for a month, and I interned at Amnesty International for a short while. For the most part, though, I stayed at home, reading and thinking.  

It was in the process of doing so that I discovered my true passion (albeit a latent one): political science. The way I see it, the study of politics is little more than the study of people, except that the stakes are a lot higher. I guess that Course 17 makes sense for me, then, since my favorite thing to do is talk to and learn about people. What are your dreams? Passions? Fears? Oddities? Everyday, I try to meet someone new or find out something new about someone I already know.

At MIT, most of the activities with which I’m involved center on politics in one way or another. I started Forum on American Progress my freshman year to increase student discussion of American foreign policy, and, along with a friend, founded the MIT International Review to spotlight global problems and solutions. I also serve as UA Vice-President, write opinion pieces for The Tech, and participate in interfaith dialogue sessions as a member of the Addir Fellows.

No introduction would be complete without some random tidbits, so I’ll list the ones that first come to mind. My favorite band is Slipknot, with Simon & Garfunkel coming in as a close second.  I like doing impressions of people: in particular, Ali G, Borat, and Steven Thoen from “American Idol.” I’m easily amused, partial to corny jokes, and prone to explosive laughter.  I love people who do things spontaneously for no other reason than to feel alive.

I’m hoping to go into public life one day and redress some of the injustices of which I’m daily made aware. Change is possible if we believe in our power. I don’t labor under any illusions — the political road is a tough one, fraught with unexpected challenges. If I’ve learned anything, though, it’s that while reality should guide our mind, idealism must always kindle our heart.

33 responses to “New Blog: Humanitarian Work At MIT”

  1. Melis says:

    Hurray! Ali’s finally blogging! Welcome =) (I didn’t know your favorite band was Slipknot. The things you learn…)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure you will do great things, and I consider myself to me be humantarion too, so I understand how you feel.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You are making a huge difference in our world.

  4. Paul says:

    Awesome intro, Ali. I’m looking forward to reading.

    By the way, you should all Facebook Ali sometime. I won’t say more than that, just prepare to be surprised. wink

  5. Aditi says:

    looking forward to more!

    Does MIT have a model united nations program?

  6. Nihar says:

    Welcome Ali!
    I am sure your posts will be as effective as is your intro. Go Humanitarians!!
    Interfaith dialogue sessions sound interesting! Can you tell me more about what you actually include in those? Are the sessions basically lecture-based or more interactive?

  7. Ali says:

    Hi, Aditi.

    You bet. Visit or contact the two Ambassador Generals, Jean Cui and Bonnie Krenz, for more information.

  8. Jessica says:

    Ali, I am a prospective student for MIT and so I’ve spent a good deal of my time reading random blogs on the site to get a better feel for MIT. By now, I might’ve read 30 blogs or so, and this is the first one I’ve commented. I started a Humane Alternative Club at my school, so I too consider myself a humanitarian. I still wasn’t sure, though, what career could help me do the most for the world we live in. I thought that I was one of the few that still had idealist dreams in this realist world. No lie, I think you’ve convinced me, I’m definitely looking into poli sci now. Thaks, I appreaciate the boost of inspiration.

  9. Yay! This is exactly why I want to go to MIT!

  10. Ali says:

    Hi, Nihar.

    The Addir Fellows program is almost exclusively interactive. It brings together about 30 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim undergraduate and graduate students to discuss religion and the ways in which it affects social norms, political developments, and so forth. Ora Gladstone coordinates the program and can give you more information.

  11. Aditi says:

    @ Ali : thank you for the link. It made my day :D

    I chaired and organized a model UN conference at my school this year will be representing germany at another MUN in a weeks time so yeah i’m a little bit obsessed with the whole thing!

  12. Anonymous says:

    wow, Ali, your facebook picture is pretty scary… (and you need to be friends to facebook someone)

  13. Anonymous says:

    please can you tell me honestly, even if grades are not everything, do i have a chance to get accepted in MIT with Bs and Cs in my senior year ? please be honest.

  14. Vihang says:

    Humanitarian Blog .. I like that. I’m looking forward to more posts from you.

    I just had to say … Slipknot and Simon and Garfunkel !
    That’s quite contrasting … though I like both of them too.

  15. Ali says:

    Hi, Anonymous.

    Yes. While grades are certainly important, so, too, are your passions. Make sure that they come out as clearly as possible in your application.

  16. Did you do/take/involve yourself in/join D-Lab? If so, do you know which verb people use when referring to it? I’m inclined to say “take”, but it seems to be more of an experience than a class.

  17. Ali says:

    Hi, Nihar.

    Yup. Ora is probably most interested in recruiting freshmen since she wants to sustain the program.

  18. Ali says:

    Hi, Andrew.

    While I haven’t taken D-Lab (I took S-Lab), the people I know who’ve taken it have nothing but amazing things to say. You get to develop breakthrough solutions to important problems and implement them in countries across the world. Check out for more information.

  19. Nihar says:

    Intriguing! But what about other religions…arent Hindu’s eligible to participate?

    @Anonymous :
    Ali is right. You should know that grades can only get you consideration, not admission, here. The real you and your match with MIT is what matters more. Im no authority on this, but thats what Iv learnt myself smile

  20. Ali says:

    Hi, Nihar.

    Of course! I forgot to say that while the program comprises mostly Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students, it also has students from other faiths. Come to think of it, we have a Baha’i and a Jain in the program, but not a Hindu: You should apply!

  21. “took”, ok. And yes, I have seen the site. It appears to have a high degree of awesome.

  22. Nihar says:

    Sure thing I would! If I get the chance that is. smile
    People from various religions gathering together to discuss social matters and share their unique views on them???…Who wouldn’t want to be a part of it I say…
    Just one last question :
    ..Are freshmen eligible to apply to the Addir Fellows program??

  23. mcvs says:

    ok your feelings are fine. Remember you need lot of support or else they are your DREAMS

  24. leah says:

    “If I’ve learned anything, though, it’s that while reality should guide our mind, idealism must always kindle our heart.”


  25. David Akinin says:

    Hey! I hope to get into MIT and bring with me some of the things I’ve done. Shoes4Africa, Inc. is a non profit organization I started and expanded around the world throughout the past two years. I collect shoes for barefoot people in West Africa. Trust me, its not just a common misconception- its reality. Hope to learn more about you! David Akinin (

  26. Anonymous says:

    ali ,are you an international student?

  27. Ali says:

    Hi, Anonymous.

    Nope, I hail from Virginia. My parents, however, are both natives of Pakistan.

  28. Nihar says:

    Thanks Ali! Another program added to the(already overflowing)list of things I would love to do at MIT!^^

  29. Conor says:

    Hey, can you go on overseas aid trips through MIT or would you have to go to an outside organisation? I’m Scottish, 16 this year and going to Malawi on an aid trip with the school the month after my Higher exam. If you can’t go through MIT can you recommend any organisations to apply through, as I really want to continue this work into university.

  30. Ali says:

    Hi, Conor.

    I’m not sure. You should talk with Jen Cook ([email protected]), who works in MIT’s Study Abroad Office. Good luck!

  31. manoj says:

    hi ,i..
    i’m from india ,i’m too far to you but i think that you are doing something right.
    i’m always with you if you do in favour of advancement of something you are already welcomed by the world.
    i can only give you my blessings for what are you doing,and assure for the help whatever i can do for you and your aim.

  32. Janet says:

    Ali Thanks for sharing!

    Awesome note!