Current Students

Who is a hero in your country?

NWCCI students will showcase their culture and discuss the concept of “hero” from a cultural perspective at a culture expo today on campus. To prepare for this event, NWCCI students reflected on the concept of “hero” in their country. Here is a sample of what they had to say.


Jessy Bezerra Da Rocha from Brazil listed among her heroes three presidents: Dilma (current president), Lula (ex-president), and Vargas (a former important president) as well as Princess Isabel, who was responsible for the freedom of slaves. Jessy says that these people can be considered heroes for the Brazilian people because they made and have made a lot of difference to improve Brazil.

Daniel Arias Arango from Colombia said that he had a difficult time calling someone a real “hero”. He said, Colombian people like me get happy when some of our people are successful outside the country, some examples are Shakira, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, James Rodriguez, Paulina Vega. Those are some people from Colombia who are showing the world our culture, but I do not think that they are heroes, they are just like ambassadors of our culture.” However, two people who do meet Daniel’s definition of “hero” are his mother and his aunt. Daniel says of his mother, “She is my wonder woman. She is my everything because she was fighting against the world since the first time that she realized that she was pregnant, people in the family thought that a woman without a husband cannot raise a son. And now I am here, following my dreams and waiting to give back to my mom all that I can give.”


“She is my wonder woman. She is my everything…”

Eunice Arkoh from Ghana says her heroes include Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the “Big Six” because “they fought with their life to secure independence for Ghana and continued to fight to deliver all Ghanaians from the slave trade.” She adds that all of the citizens of Ghana are also her heroes, “be it the Muslims, the Christians, the traditionalists, the politicians, the non-politicians and the non-religious people who have struggled to maintain the peace and love our forefathers left us with. Their self-comportment and their ability to help others has made Ghana to be referred to as the gateway to Africa and I’m so proud of them.”

Isabeau Malan from South Africa listed several heroes who have influenced the country in a positive way in the last 25 years. Her list includes Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Mmusi Maimane, Gavin Hood, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Evita Bezuidenhout, Nelson Mandela, Francois Pienaar. She says, “They have taken on ethical issues and fought for justice but also promoted the country.”


Mohab Omran from Egypt says his hero is Mohammed El Baradi, an Egyptian law scholar and diplomat who was the last vice president of Egypt and the winner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

Vijay Kumar from Pakistan says that a hero should be selfless, have a vision, be fearless, and be a people-person. Vijay says that Dr. Muhammad Iqbal fits his definition of a hero. Vijay says, “Through his poetry, he inspired millions… He is recognized as a philosophical founder of Pakistan who gave the country’s fundamental vision for the future. His principles were based on hard-core concepts like self-esteem and justice”

“Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle. 

Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai.”

– from Dr. Muhammad Iqbal’s poem Bal-e-Jibril:

“Elevate yourself so high that even God, before issuing every decree of destiny, should ask you:

Tell me, what your intent is?” (translation)

Irfan Ali Shah from Pakistan lists Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Ayub Khan, General Retired Pervez Musharraf, and Imran Khan among his heroes. Irfan says that the definition of hero may vary depending on the nation or culture, but he believes that heroes should be visionary, have the ability to lead people, and should have “the transformational leadership traits and many more attractive potentials as compared to a common man or woman.” These traits include determination, consistency charisma, and “the ability to win the hearts of general people by standing beside them in their good and hard times.”

One of Saira Raza of Pakistan’s heroes is Arifa Karim, who was only nine years old when she became one of the youngest Microsoft-certified professionals in the world. Saira views a hero as someone who “always tries to achieve their goals to raise people’s minds. They devote their time and life for the country. Actually their thinking is for development and to spread peace and love.”


Khurram Ali Chughtai from Pakistan says one hero of his and many other Pakistanis is Malala Yousafzai. He cites her as a hero, “because she is an activist of female education. She risks her life for the female and she has spoken up for the 31 million girls around the world who cannot get an education. She inspires people throughout the word. She stands against the extremists and fights for the right of women.”

Raymond Appe of Cote d’Ivoire says Felix Houphouet Boigny, the first president of the Ivory Coast, is one of his heroes. Raymond says, “He  was a model and he did many great things for the country and he is still a noticeable and stunning president until now, although he passed away.”

Reeta from India says her favorite hero is Mr. Virender (Sam) Singh. She says, “He is the owner of my school in India. He got an education in the States and went back to India and opened his own school for girls in my community. He also belongs to the same community. As it is a rural area it is very difficult to afford education, so he opened a school to provide free education for girls. He also provides each and every girl 10 rupees per day to come to school. He is my favorite Hero.”

The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.


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