UCLA Spotlight

Excelling at public service: Humanitarian Award winners

  • Published May 17, 2010 8:15 AM

This year's winners of the Charles E. Young Humanitarian Award come from four different academic disciplines. The people they serve are as far away as Burma and as close as the UCLA campus.

Abdallah Jadallah, Civil Engineering


Abdallah Jadallah

As president of UCLA's Muslim Student Association in 2008, Jadallah noticed cash-strapped students who couldn't afford food. Working with the Community Program Office, he began the Food Closet, a pantry stocked for students who need food but don't have the means to buy it. "In the Muslim religion, we're supposed to help others," he says. "If (Allah) gives you a good, strong body, a strong mind, you should utilize it to spread good and to fight injustices."


Benjamin Moore, Political Science


Benjamin Moore

Moore belongs to Bruins for Burma, and worked with Burma Community Builders to build a high school at a Burmese refugee camp. He spent his spring break at the camp, preparing for the school's opening. "Building the high school is really important for the camp's youth," says Moore, who developed the school's curriculum. "There's no school to speak of in the area. Most of the young men grow up to become rebel soldiers. Our hope is to offer them some type of alternative to that."


Evelyn Wang, English


Evelyn Wang

Wang is one of two honorees who works with Project Literacy. She is co-administrative director this year, and has herself tutored adults in the program. "The people we tutor are so committed to the program," says Wang. "Many of them have full-time jobs and children, but they've made a commitment to learning."



Mark Dakkak, Mathematics


Mark Dakkak

Dakkak, who also works with Project Literacy, focuses on tutoring children. Many of them need help with reading skills and math. Dakkak set up an intern program and helped to increase the number of volunteers from 60 to 150. "Once you have made a difference in someone's life, you witness real change," Dakkak says. "And you make a commitment to making a difference throughout your life."


Complete coverage is in the UCLA Newsroom, Four UCLA students honored with humanitarian award for volunteer efforts.