Even before becoming a Rangel Fellow, Hala Rharrit had a burning desire to share her personal experiences with the world. Her family moved to the United States from Morocco when she was seven. Growing up, she was the only Arab-American in school. According to Hala, this duality afforded her “the special opportunity to dispel prejudices and to bridge gaps between my two cultures.”
In high school, her passion for international politics, economics, history and social sciences grew into a career goal and lifelong mission to promote cultural understanding, tolerance and cooperation across borders. After graduating from George Washington University, she earned the Rangel Fellowship and received a master’s degree in Arab Studies at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
Her first post was in Sanaa, Yemen where she served as a Political Officer working on human rights, political party relations, counter-terrorism and child trafficking. She found her work in promoting critical issues such as human rights and women’s empowerment to be highly rewarding. She served as program manager for grants that made a real impact on the ground, including one that successfully incorporated human rights into the police academy curriculum.
Today, already fluent in Arabic and French, Hala is serving as a Vice Consul in Hong Kong, for which she trained in Mandarin Chinese . Her goals for her Foreign Service career include promoting education, women’s rights and empowerment, economic development, and poverty alleviation and bridging diplomatic gaps between the United States and other countries.
Hala’s experiences and education began with her passion to spread understanding throughout the world, and were advanced by Charles B. Rangel Program. “The program opened a great door into the intriguing world of the US Foreign Service.” she said. “This opportunity not only provided a scholarship for a master’s degree, but more importantly allowed me to effectively carry out the greater goal of promoting cultural understanding, tolerance and cooperation across borders.”
In addition to valuing her congressional internship and the subsequent internship at the U.S. embassy in Dakar, Senegal, Hala appreciated the bond formed with her fellow Fellows. “The experience of living with fellow Rangels established a great bond that has been carried into the Foreign Service,” she said. “It is a rewarding program which, while assisting you financially with graduate studies, prepares you for an intriguing, honorable and rewarding career that will change the course of your life forever,” she said.