7/28/16 ASHLAND, Ohio - Nassem Al-Mehairi, the son of Ashland University alumna Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi, Class of 1997, who also served as editor of the student newspaper The Collegian, was featured in the Bill Clinton introduction video at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night.
The video also showed several parts of the AU campus, including Nassem writing a letter in the Ashland University Library. The video can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF-yqvHKL2A
Nassem had written a letter to former President Bill Clinton in 2014, and he received a letter back from Clinton. Clinton saved his letter and in the DNC introduction video, he reads Nassem’s letter out loud as one of his favorites over the years.
According to Erin, the documentary team came to Ashland and spent about five hours with Nassem interviewing him at the Ashland University library and shooting video of him outside the library. Nassem can be seen at the beginning of the video writing a letter to Clinton while seated in the library.
The AU Library was selected because Nassem spent a lot of time sitting and reading in the library’s JFK reading room. According to Erin, JFK and Bobby Kennedy are his inspirations, leading him when he was younger toward reading about them as well about Clinton and being inspired by his work for poverty, equal rights and education.
“I was so proud listening to my son that day talk about serving others and how proud he is to be an American! At that moment, I think I had an out of body experience! I am so grateful I got to spend the day with him watching this. His words inspired me! I hope one day you all get to hear Nassem's heart speak as well. What an outstanding experience for him,” Erin noted on Facebook.
Nassem, who is a 16-year-old junior at Ashland High School, was a Junior Ashbrook Scholar with AU’s Ashbrook Program when he was in eighth grade. The Ashbrook Center, located on the AU campus, seeks to restore and strengthen the capacities of the American people for constitutional self-government.
“I know he thought highly of Dr. Peter Schramm (former executive director of the Ashbrook Program.),” she said. “They helped to mold his views on presidents, founding fathers and the constitution. The Ashbrook Center was influential in his life and no matter what party, Nassem’s thoughts for human kind transcends party lines.”
Nassem, who has been working with the Ashland County Democratic Party since 2012, has volunteered with campaigns for Barack Obama, Sherrod Brown and, now, Hillary Clinton.
Erin also noted that her mother, Carolyn Arnold Sweet, is an AU alumna who graduated in 1960. “It was her fondness for JFK that first inspired Nassem and why he connected to the JFK reading room,” she said.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###