A Kurd on her way to Harvard


Dr. Kanya Said, Harvard student
Dear Loyal Blog Follower, 
The success of my friends is my success, and their dreams coming true is my dream coming true. Kanya is a young Kurd, she is an amazingly Loyal friend and a great individual who is on her way to Harvard for her Masters. Since she is a true inspiration I asked her to write to you this week. So here is what she sent me:
“Where there is a will there is a way to reach your dreams”

I want to start by saying that this is unlike anything I have written before. This is an insight to who I am, Kanya Said, and my dreams and hopes for the future.

I was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden but I have a Kurdish soul. My parents came to Sweden from Slemani because they had to leave, but they were dedicated to bring our homeland to our home. The language at home has always been Kurdish and the bedtime stories were all about the beauty of Kurdistan’s nature, our people’s generosity, brave hearts, and sacrifices. The older I got the more I learned and understood about my people’s unhealed wounds from the past and their constant struggle to defend their rights to live.

Today I am a proud Kurd from Kurdistan. I have always loved school and knew that Medicine was my future. I started my educational journey by studying Dentistry for 3 years and then I changed to Medicine. I plan to finish both educations. Besides my basic education I write medical articles to corporate what I find important into the Health Care system in Kurdistan.

I am also writing a book “Manual of Medicine” in Kurdish that will help Kurds to increase their common medical knowledge; I work as a volunteer at Rosengrenska stiftelsen in Gothenburg with doctors giving medical care to immigrants that don’t have legal access to it. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of these patients are from our homeland.

On top of all of this I am working on my Master’s Degree, and it’s research, which I will be doing at Harvard University in Boston. I am the first Medical student from Gothenburg University who’s going there.

I try to go back to Kurdistan as often as possible but due to my studies it’s difficult to find an opportunity to do so. However when I do I try to be active as a volunteer in as many organizations as possible. The summer of 2012 for example I had the benefit to visit a school in Kanakawa, Slemani, where they were teaching English for free, with the famous journalist and photographer Donald Boström. There we were lead by the amazing TedxErbil speaker Sabah Ahmed and our group was also invited to his home where he told us about his successful inventions and future plans.

It’s hard for me to travel often but like Cale Salih said: “You can travel through the internet and books”  and that’s exactly what I am doing now. Pages like Facebook and Twitter makes it easy to get the latest news on the situation in our homeland and for people around the world to make their voice heard by those who should hear it. It’s like a virtual diaspora but at the same time we can show the world what Kurdistan is through different pages online and worldwide events where we step up and show who we are. This new generation is, in my eyes, different from the previous one because most of us see Kurdistan and all its parts as one while the old minds are still limited in thinking of political parties.

The people I have met online have affected my life the most. I have learned that there are successful Kurds all around the world who are following their dreams and it makes me proud. It gives me hope that together we can fulfill the ultimate dream of mine, that I share with many others– an independent Kurdistan.

Going to Harvard for my MD is a dream of mine coming true and I can’t wait to go there and raise my beautiful Kurdish Flag to show everyone that I am from Kurdistan and to let some of those in the academic world know who we are and that we can make it here as well if we want to. 

As Sazan Mandalawi says “Be the change you want to see in Kurdistan.” And that is what I’m trying to do. Medicine is my field but everyone has a dream of their own. I’m telling you my story because I want you to know that it is possible to be who you want to be. It’s not easy at all but “where there is a will there is a way.” If I can do it so can you. I have many more plans and dreams for the future. Most of them I have to fulfill myself but to reach the higher ones I need my Kurdish brothers and sisters.

Kanya Said,

16 thoughts on “A Kurd on her way to Harvard

Add yours

  1. You look great and beutiful – not only as a lady but as a doctor.
    I read your words with a great pleasure and i am more than happy to know that Kurdayati is so important for you.
    Yes, the world will see that Kurds are special people – with you as an example.

    If you want to do some volunteer work – i Kurdistan – i reccoment you to pay attention to so called “refugee camps” (in fact the camps where Kurds are at home on their own land, just they were forced to move from other places because of the situation) – these people in many cases need a real help – any help. If you can, remember about them.

    Wish you a big success, which of course includs Independent Kurdistan on the first place 🙂


    Sazan Xan – chony 🙂 – greetings!


  2. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Iraq? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Iraq in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog http://www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez


  3. are you the first kurdish girl to go to harvard?? i think you are
    may you become the most famous kurdish doctor, run your own hospital and do free treatment for those who need it

    Kanya said is a big name to look for in the future. thanks sazan for introducing her, please can you add her twitter?


  4. are you the first kurdish girl to go to harvard?? i think you are
    may you become the most famous kurdish doctor, run your own hospital and do free treatment for those who need it

    Kanya said is a big name to look for in the future. thanks sazan for introducing her, please can you add her twitter?


  5. Harvard was my dream. Now I study in English department you are making dream of many kurdish girls reality. You give me hope thank you


  6. My dear @kulka.

    Thank you for your words. They mean so much to me. My dream of an independent Kurdistan is my highest one and the Kurdish rights are a neglected question that are close to my heart. Mn Kurdmw har Kurd abm 🙂

    As for the volunteer work I am involved in 2 organisations:
    “Atwanim Organization” based in Slemai that gave clothes, food and hygiene products to the refugees in Domiz camp and the “Kurdish doctors society in Sweden” that collected medical tools, drugs and doctors who went there to help the sick at the Domiz camp.
    (Both this month)

    I think it is very important that we look at the camps where our brothers and sister are, I am involved in the question and try to help as much as possible.

    Thank you for talking about it and spreading awareness!

    My regards to you again. 🙂


  7. @Anonymous (1)

    Thank you so much! 🙂
    You just revealed my highest dream! I wish to go back home to Kurdistan in the future with as much knowledge and experience possible to help my own people and those who doesn't have the privilege to receive the care they need. I will come back and work for free in the future for sure.

    Thank you for your sweet words and your support! My twitter is: KanyaSaid
    Hope to see you there!


  8. @Anonymous (2)

    My dearest…

    I hope that you can go to Harvard one day to study English perhaps? 😉
    And don't forget that my journey is our journey and I will take you with me in every step. It will be like we are there together all of us Kurds. 🙂

    Always have hope for you can do everything you want, it just takes some time.



  9. @Sarmed

    Haha, thank you but we have many reasons to show off. We Kurds are a talented people that should be proud.

    Thank you again!


  10. @Kaniya

    Domiz camp is the place on which i am currently thinking to help. Already two girls agreed to help as well. I am really happy that you are one more person who support this place and people over there.
    I would like to contact “Atwanim” as maybe we can help each other. If possible, please drop me a contact on Kulka Kurdayati on Facebook (hope you have acount, if not we will try other way).
    Thanks a lot.


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