And Another One: Munira Khalif Accepted To All 8 Ivy League Schools

April 9, 2015  |  

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the upcoming generation is hopeless. In addition to Kwasi Enin last year and Harold Ekeh, this year, Munira Khalif, a high school senior from Minnesota, has achieved the rare and distinct honor of being accepted to all eight Ivy League schools as well as several other prestigious colleges.

The 17-year-old with Somalian immigrant parents, who attends Mounds Park Academy, said that she was surprised to learn she’d been accepted to all the schools.

But she shouldn’t have been. With accomplishments on her resume that include founding a non profit organization, lobbying for legislation against child marriage, becoming a teen adviser for the United Nations’ Girl Up campaign and being a spoken word artist, Khalif had the skills and more importantly, the passion to be an asset to any college or university.

According to Minnesota’s Star Tribune, her teachers and peers describe her as a young woman who doesn’t just talk about it, she is about it. They say she exudes confidence and grace in ways people twice her age have yet to master. But in the midst of being amazing, she still makes time for sleepovers and cooking with her friends.

Her nonprofit organization, Lighting the Way, which she began as a freshman in high school, seeks to help the youth of East Africa buy making education accessible. The organization raised $30,000 for scholarships and to aid with sanitation problems.

As an adviser for the Girl Up campaign, she engaged her peers to send letters to Congress fighting against child marriage.

During her sophomore year, Khalif was invited to perform her spoken-word piece in honor of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived a Taliban attack to go on and fight for the rights of girls to be educated.

But of all the accolades she’s received, Khalif is most proud of being honored with the U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award. An distinction recognizes young people who are fighting for universal education. She was one of nine students chosen from around the world.

“That was the highlight of my entire high school career. I was just bewildered.”

So where did Khalif develop her passion for education?

It was her parents, who had to flea from Somali’s civil war in 1992.

“Having parents who fled from civil war changes your entire perspective. That makes you realize the opportunities you have in the United States and use those to its fullest extent.”

In Somalia, Khalif said her maternal grandfather was adamant that his daughters received an education when many girls did not have the same opportunities.

“Because my mom was able to receive this gift of education, I felt I had an obligation to give this gift back.”

In addition to her activism, Khalif spoke of being inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folks and the poetry of Saul Williams. She uses these mediums as a way to “find a place as a minority in the United States.”

While Khalif’s hard work over the years has afforded her with the luxury of many options, she’s not certain which school she will eventually attend. Right now, she is sure that she wants to continue her activism, her poetry and return to Somalia one day.

“I want to be a part of the dialogue back home. There’s a lot of peace-building happening in Somalia and I want to be a part of that when I get older.”

Khalif’s Spanish teacher Kari Kunze said, “A lot of people say they are going to change the world and they have the best intentions. But Munira is somebody who probably will change the world.”

Congratulations to this young lady! We’re sure this won’t be the last time we hear her name.


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