University of Southern California
FOR GIVING REFUGE TO REFUGEES:
Omar Azizi grew up as an Afghan refugee in Pakistan, and the circumstances did not allow him to receive a traditional education. Despite this obstacle, Omar educated himself by reading borrowed books and taught himself four languages.
At the age of 20, Omar and his family resettled in San Diego after being granted asylum in the United States. Within a year he successfully learned English and Math, and placed high on college entrance exams. During this time he was also extensively involved in volunteering on campus and helping with the resettlement of refugees in San Diego and Los Angeles. Omar’s humanitarian initiatives were recognized by the White House and President Barack Obama.
After earning his associate degree from MiraCosta College, he transferred to the University of Southern California on a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship to study business. Using his experience as a refugee, Omar and his team created Safar, an app that connects NGOs on the ground. Safar, scheduled to launch soon, will help refugees to find medical, legal and educational resources. Safar’s focus will be aimed at the Moria Camp in Lesvos, Greece, where 10,000 refugees are stranded. Omar plans to expand Safar to other refugee camps around the world.