Global citizen inspires with one story at a time

A+Global+Citizen.+Long+Beach+City+College+student+Atotesfaye+Abdu-Hakim+waits+outside+of+the+campus+library.+A+current+Japanese+2+student+with+proficiency+in+Spanish%2C+Swahili+and+French%2C+Abdu-Hakim+believes+in+the+importance+of+appreciating+different+cultures+and+languages.+%22Exposure+to+new+cultures+has+made+me+a+better+human+being%2C%22+Adu-Hakim+said.+He+plans+to+visit+South+America%2C+one+of+the+few+places+he+has+yet+to+experience.
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Global citizen inspires with one story at a time

A Global Citizen. Long Beach City College student Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim waits outside of the campus library. A current Japanese 2 student with proficiency in Spanish, Swahili and French, Abdu-Hakim believes in the importance of appreciating different cultures and languages.

A Global Citizen. Long Beach City College student Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim waits outside of the campus library. A current Japanese 2 student with proficiency in Spanish, Swahili and French, Abdu-Hakim believes in the importance of appreciating different cultures and languages. "Exposure to new cultures has made me a better human being," Adu-Hakim said. He plans to visit South America, one of the few places he has yet to experience.

Krystal Gallegos

A Global Citizen. Long Beach City College student Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim waits outside of the campus library. A current Japanese 2 student with proficiency in Spanish, Swahili and French, Abdu-Hakim believes in the importance of appreciating different cultures and languages. "Exposure to new cultures has made me a better human being," Adu-Hakim said. He plans to visit South America, one of the few places he has yet to experience.

Krystal Gallegos

Krystal Gallegos

A Global Citizen. Long Beach City College student Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim waits outside of the campus library. A current Japanese 2 student with proficiency in Spanish, Swahili and French, Abdu-Hakim believes in the importance of appreciating different cultures and languages. "Exposure to new cultures has made me a better human being," Adu-Hakim said. He plans to visit South America, one of the few places he has yet to experience.

By Megan Vlietstra, Mia Gambero, Isabella Mora, Christina Acevedo, Krystal Gallegos, and Kamryn George

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Sitting outside the library at Long Beach City College on Aug. 3, was Atotesfaye Abdu-Hakim, a student, teacher, and most importantly, a human rights activist. Dressed modestly in a pair of overalls and a blue shirt, Abdu-Hakim talked about the importance of understanding cultures.

“Exposures to new cultures has made me a better person,” Abdu-Hakim said regarding his extensive travels.

Since childhood, he has known that human rights is an important topic, which came from growing up in the diversity of Southern California. By learning languages such as Korean, Sign Language, French, Spanish and Swahili, Abdu-Hakim was able to understand other cultures better.

“We don’t really respect each other or our differences,” Abdu-Hakim said. “We don’t really know [different cultures] and the people are so diverse.”

When speaking about his travels in Korea, Abdu-Hakim said that people from westernized cultures “demoralized” Koreans for being different from them. His answer to solving this ignorance was travel.

In traveling to Ethiopia to build wells for the people living in poverty, he learned that human interaction is enough to connect and break down language barriers.

“We’re all one human family and we need to embrace that,” Abdu-Hakim said.

Abdu-Hakim was inspired to begin teaching after his experience entering into a classroom and witnessing the enthusiasm of students who wanted to learn.

“What propelled me forward was the fact that I had the opportunity [to teach],” Abdu-Hakim said.

Currently, he works to motivate students through his teaching. He has taught for Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, UCLA, and in Korea. Among his favorite subjects to teach are human rights and the arts.
Abdu-Hakim’s future goals include extending his travels to include South America and earning his PhD in expressive arts. His hopes for those who are passionate about becoming human rights activists is to “listen with your heart.”

“Unless we really become human rights activists and are working diligently for world peace, it won’t happen,” he said.

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