December 16, 2014, is one of the saddest days in the history of Pakistan when terrorists entered a school and killed over 140 people, mostly children. The entire nation mourned the loss for days. Fortunately, a few children survived the attack and became a major source of inspiration. Ahmad Nawaz, one of the survivors of the tragedy, now leads Oxford Union.
The attack changed the whole life of his family as they lost their 9-year-old son Harris, while a 14-year-old Nawaz was critically injured. The doctors had told Nawaz that his left arm needed to be amputated. However, the family refused to give them permission and he underwent 5 surgeries in Peshawar.
Later, he along with his family went to the UK for the necessary medical treatment four years ago and had 6 more surgeries there. In 2019, the brave lad completed his sixth-form education after being awarded a scholarship to study at Birmingham’s top school King Edward High School for boys.
In 2020, Nawaz shared the news of getting into the University of Oxford, one of the leading universities in the world. He has now become president of the Oxford Union, the famed university debating club that helped launch the careers of countless world leaders.
Since taking the reins of the union, he has said he wants to make it appeal more to marginalized groups such as ethnic minorities and disabled students. The 21-year-old told The Times that he cried with joy at the news of his election, adding: “It’s been the most emotional ride I’ve had in a long, long time.”
‘History making moment of my life’
“I was determined and when I came to Oxford I was quite ambitious but I never thought I would get involved with the union,” he told The Times. “This shows there are no limits, whatever your background.”
Nawaz said the union is “one of the biggest free speech platforms in the world,” adding: “When I was a child I had heard of the Oxford Union. I just wanted to step into this institution, rubbing shoulders with those from Eton, Harrow, and Westminster.”
“We are going to work to make an institutional change, to make more people from disadvantaged backgrounds feel comfortable and get involved, rather than just feel like it belongs to public school kids,” he said. “I want to make people feel included, not just based on where they are from but also different types of societies.”
“I would also like to diversify the speakers and the discussions that take place in the union, so we can focus for example on human rights and societal issues in different parts of the world.” He said committee members should become more involved in community work, adding: “I couldn’t have been more grateful for this journey.”
After rising as an epitome of valor by surviving the APS terrorist attack courageously and going on to inspire others, Nawaz has once again made the nation proud.
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