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Speaking for His People at the UN

I was born in the Saharawi refugee camp located in southern Algeria,” Westminster College junior Alouat Hamoudi Abdelfatah (Western Sahara, UWC of the Adriatic) told the United Nations Hearing on Western Sahara last November.

“My family left the Western
Sahara in 1975, following the
Moroccan invasion .... They had to choose between death and life. Moroccan aircraft were bombing
them with napalm.”

How did Alouat get the chance
to give the UN his perspective on
the three-decade exile of his
Saharawi people?

“I requested to speak,” he said. “I was completely nervous! But the moment I started, I just got normal. I was speaking from personal experience, and what I was talking about was true.”

He told the UN his people have a basic right to sovereignty — and “this right can come only when the United Nations passes a referendum allowing the indigenous people of Western Sahara the power to decide what they want: either to be an autonomous, self-governing country or a part of Morocco.”

Alouat grew up in that refugee camp. His life changed when he won a UWC scholarship. He has taken the UWC spirit to Westminster — and he brought it to the UN, where he sat and talked for more than an hour with the ambassador of Morocco.

“As a college student, I know you can listen to the other party. Whether you agree or not, you have to go listen,” Alouat said.

Alouat speaks four languages and wants to become a PhD diplomat, to advocate for his people. “I am working very hard. We’ll see what is going to happen.”