Douglas Kneale, Rima Asfour, Kim Nelson“Why Humanities?” competition winner Rima Asfour (centre) accepts congratulations from UWindsor interim president Douglas Kneale and Humanities Research Group director Kim Nelson.

Poetry pressed into service by Why Humanities? competition finalists

The March 15 terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, horrified Rima Asfour, but it also compelled her to write an impassioned and ultimately winning submission to the Humanities Research Group’s “Why Humanities?” contest.

Six student finalists in the contest each made a case for the humanities and why they matter in today’s world at the “Pizza with the Prez” reception, Wednesday evening in Katzman Lounge. Contestants, students, faculty, and families enjoyed free pizza with UWindsor interim president Douglas Kneale.

Entries could be in any genre: essay, rant, song, poem, audio, video, or spoken word. This year’s finalists — Asfour, Marisa Bordonaro, Leah Edmonds, Rebecca Haddad, Meg Mooney, and Owen Stichhaller — all chose to make their arguments using spoken word or poetry.

Each finalist received a $100 gift card from the UWindsor Bookstore.

For her victory, Asfour, a third-year political science major with a double minor in sociology and English, received a tuition credit of $3,500.

“Getting your voice out there is most important,” she says.

Here is an excerpt from her winning poem:

So here it is, I am Muslim and I am proud
I will not succumb to the hatred in this world
The humanities has let me see,
The tip of the iceberg is never the full reality
The humanities has shown me that we must help one another
Learn from one another
Keep present and stand for what is right

Asfour’s entry was judged by a panel of the HRG advisory board as the most persuasive, original, inspired, and creative. She was also a finalist in last year’s “Why Humanities?” competition.

—Susan McKee