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  • Humans of Erasmus Mundus (HoEM)

Muhammad Hassan Khan Niazi; Pakistan: Coastal and Marine Engineering and Management (CoMEM)

Let me take you through the conversation I recently had with a recruiter.


"You are invited to spend a day at our company so we can get to know each other better". This was the last stage in the recruitment process after which I could have been employed by one of the world’s largest consulting companies. I had made it to the final interview after going through a grueling five- stage process, therefore, I was excited and overwhelmed by the upcoming opportunity.



But while I was feeling euphoric about my accomplishments and planning the future steps in my head, I received a phone call from the same company again.


"Hi, Hassan! Sorry, I forgot to ask, but where are you from?"


Upon hearing the question, I couldn’t utter a word. I became completely silent because paranoia took over and I started recalling what had happened to me in the past. This was the third time in a month that I found myself in a similar position and, deep down, I knew what was coming: I would get rejected again on the basis of my country of origin.


Why should it matter where I was born? How does my skin colour affect my qualification and abilities? How is it of any concern to a company which race I belong to? The tornedo of unanswered questions – which I bury in my head every night – came back to haunt me again.


And it doesn’t end there. My friend – who studied design engineering and was interviewed by a leading car-manufacturing firm – was working at McDonalds when someone sitting in a flashy car from the same manufacturer yelled at my friend and told him to go back to her country.


Against popular belief, racial discrimination is still significantly prevalent within western societies. Though it might not be very overt, it manifests itself in the form of micro aggressions. Banners have transformed into subtle forms, for instance, in job specifications, letting of houses and rooms, replying to question only in native languages, etcetera.


It exists in all forms and colors and is relevant to every one of us. It’s a human rights problem. Portrayal of right-wing media organisations have worsened the situation by adding fuel to the fire.


Think of the world as a house, where everyone has to make room for everyone in order to transform it into a home.

We need to remember that there’s only one race: human race and human race shouldn’t discriminate against anyone because they come from a certain country.

EMA is the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association. EMA was founded in 2006 and is registered as an AISBL non-profit organisation. Our aims are to help EMJMD students and alumni, promote higher education, and be a go-to network for our Alumni across the world.

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Last website update: March 2021