Rahaf Safi is currently at the Harvard Kennedy school working on a Master’s in Public Policy, with a concentration on conflict, transitional justice, and post-conflict reconstruction.
Before starting at the Kennedy school, Safi spent four years working in Amman, Jordan. She worked with a number of organizations responding to the needs of refugees, displaced persons, and vulnerable Jordanians. Her first two years, she traveled all over the country meeting refugees of many different nationalities, working to increase efficiency of the response to the crisis in Syria. Her third year, she was able to work on issues related to human rights violations in Jordan towards vulnerable populations while also working in Jordan and Iraq as a trainer for a capacity building organization. She spent her final year mainly working remotely inside of Syria on developing monitoring tools and systems for emergency response programs in Syria, but also for programs in Jordan.
During her time at IU, Safi completed a B.A. in philosophy, a B.A. in political science, and a Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) certificate. Her focus was on learning about how governments interact and should interact with civil society, and was able to apply her knowledge through PACE internships and running the Oxfam Club on campus. For her work, she received multiple scholarships, such as the Curtis R. Simic Scholarship for Leaders, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for Indiana, the Herman B Wells Scholarship, the Dona Roberts Biddle Memorial Philosophy Scholarship, and the Herman B Wells Senior Recognition Award.
When asked about her time at IU, Safi shared memories of participating and organizing events through the Oxfam Club, such as the Hunger Banquet and the Oxfam Jams. Being a part of the social activist community was extremely important for her. She also felt very honored to serve on the Board of Aeons, researching and working to advise President McRobbie. She writes, “I have amazing memories of working with Aeons on developing our reports for President McRobbie. I was also fortunate to travel with the President's delegation to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and India and that taught me so much about connecting IU's students and great work to campuses across with globe.” Safi was thankful for this opportunity that helped her to implement her training and gain experience advocating for student issues and facilitating communication between students and faculty, in Indiana and abroad.
She is also grateful for the amazing professors who have supported her throughout her time at IU and continue to mentor her, helping her to reflect on her time spent working on the Syria and Iraq humanitarian response. She feels very honored to have met so many incredible IU faculty and staff and continues to keep in touch with them. She said that IU is always with her, though she misses some of the restaurants and fondly recalled a few all-nighters spent studying at the IMU.
As far as the future goes, Safi is still developing those goals. Her areas of interest in policy are in conflict, post-conflict recovery, civil resistance and nonviolent conflict, and peacebuilding. She has a feeling that her work will take her abroad again in the future, however for now she is content focusing on her studies and the wonderful opportunities she has had at Harvard Kennedy School.