Zulfiqar (Zulfi) Sheth credits his Community College Initiative (CCI) Program for helping him to excel after returning to India as a student and as a delegate to international youth forums addressing global concerns.
Zulfi is a 2016 doctoral fellow at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) where he has served as university senior proctorial monitor (the highest post held by the student at AMU), culture and literary secretary, coaching and guidance secretary, and senior hall monitor. He is the first Indian to be elected to represent overseas students at Israel's prestigious Hebrew University Student Union. Zulfi also participated in a number of international conferences when he returned home, including the 2014 New Silk Way International Model United Nations Conference held at Almaty, Kazakhstan, during which he received the Best Delegate Award.
During his 2011-12 CCI Program, Zulfi studied business management and administration at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). While at NOVA, he became the founding president of the Indian Students Association and actively involved himself in community service and other activities, including the 10th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations focusing on Youth Led Development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He received the 2012 Service, Excellence, Academic, and Leadership award, an award recognizing him for being among the best of NOVA’s 75,000 plus students.
Zulfi says: “My public speaking training during CCIP and other activities like community service infused a lot of confidence in me. We had weekly classes on U.S. culture, institutions, and society.” During the classes, 18 students from 10 different countries discussed our political, economic, social, and cultural issues. This exercise helped me to lead discussions in the Model UN [academic competition]. I was able to understand the issues and concerns of various countries presented by respective delegates—so I was in a good position to reply to them and put forth my views effectively. Due to regular writing reflections and reporting, my English writing ability improved. This helped me to take the lead in drafting resolutions.”
CCI experiences gave him confidence to achieve his dreams, he says. “For me, it was not a year of my life, but it was life in a year.”