Hameeda Uloomi

Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
College/University Attending: Yale University
Year In School When Selected: Second Year
Program of Study: Political Science


My journey in advocacy and social entrepreneurship began when I moved to the United States from Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2015. I quickly became aware of the numerous barriers and challenges that forcibly displaced people encountered upon arriving in a new country. Motivated by this, I engaged in advocating for refugee rights and started organizing campaigns around the issue. I also began collaborating with activists and politicians to help ease the transition for refugees.

My efforts gained momentum when I attended a community college in Los Angeles, where I met incredible students and staff who supported me in transferring to Yale University. At Yale, my passion for helping others has only grown. I am currently studying political science with a focus on international relations. Through this, I hope to engage in social entrepreneurship to further mitigate the barriers faced by displaced populations.

Summary of New Ideas proposal:

My New Ideas proposal tackles three critical issues: the language barrier facing refugees and immigrants, the preservation of native languages, and polarization. In the United States, only 20% of the population speaks a language other than English, and merely 20% of K-12 students are enrolled in foreign language studies. Learning foreign languages not only stimulates the brain but also benefits the economy. Furthermore, the U.S. is often described as a "language graveyard," where immigrant languages tend to disappear within the second and third generations. The loss of a native language is akin to burning books—erasing knowledge and culture. Additionally, polarization concerning immigrants has intensified, leading to an unprecedented rise in hate crimes against BIPOC communities.

To address these challenges, my initiative aims to connect people through language to foster a sense of community and introduce innovative methods of language learning and preservation.

What does the New Ideas Competition mean to you?

Participating in the New Ideas Competition was an immensely rewarding experience. The weekend was filled with presentations and discussions with influential leaders and fellow students. Their advice has been a catalyst for my entrepreneurial journey. This experience has profoundly shaped me in ways that are difficult to express in words. I left the competition feeling more motivated and determined than ever, ready to tackle my ideas head-on.

Advice for new applicants:

Do it. Apply, learn, and connect with an amazing group of people. If you have an idea, no matter how big or small, the New Ideas Competition will help bring your idea to life.