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Interviewer Name

Marina Henke (Class of 2019)

Interview Date


Interview Location

Brunswick, Maine

Document Type



Sajjad Jaffer ('95) shares remarks on his experience as an international student from Algeria. He explores his own journey towards finding a sense of belonging in Brunswick, Maine, worlds away from his life in northern Africa. Jaffer speaks of the vast priveledge that Bowdoin offered compared to his life at home, while also commenting on the difficulties of being a Muslim student and minority student on campus at the time. Jaffer shares the way that he continues to support Bowdoin students coming from African countries. “This is dedicated to the first American-born in my family- my daughter, Sophie Malaika Jaffer. Sophie recently started middle school as a 6th grader at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA. Castilleja has a tradition of picking a word as a theme for the academic year. For 2019-20, the theme is “Belonging”. Acknowledgments I want to thank J. Taylor Crandall ’76 for sharing 3 valuable lessons over the years: 1. It is the student who makes the school, not just the school that makes the student 2. Where there’s a will, there’s a way 3. Carpe diem – seize the day This reflection was influenced and reinforced by 5 notable Polar Bears: 1. Staci Williams ’90 for being my Bowdoin Big Sister 2. Geoffrey Canada ’74 who changed the world 3. Hari Kondabolu ’04 for challenging Hank Azaria, creator of The Simpsons 4. Kenneth Chenault ’73 who reminded us that business is the last frontier in the civil rights movement 5. Alvin Hall ’74 my Bowdoin Soul Brother About Sajjad graduated from Bowdoin in 1995 with a double major in Computer Science, Government and minor in Economics. Sajjad lives in Silicon Valley and co-founded a technology company that applies data science to private equity investing. The firm was founded on 25 years of research from Wharton where he did his MBA and serves on the board of the Wharton Customer Analytics research center."

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