SNHU GEM Student Profile: Mahmoud Sattof

SNHU GEM Student Mahmoud

Meet Mahmoud: The SNHU GEM student and Syrian refugee who found a community in higher education.

Mahmoud Sattof had just graduated from high school in Syria when the civil war began. The conflict uprooted Mahmoud and his family – and prevented him from attending university. 

When Mahmoud and his parents fled the war and resettled in a refugee camp in Arsal, Lebanon, he was thrilled to discover that Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) had established a partnership with an in-country organization, Multi Aid Programs (MAPs), to offer associate and bachelor’s degrees to refugees in the Arsal camp. 

“Both SNHU GEM and MAPs enabled me to attend university after I lost any hope of doing so due to the war and my refugee status,” said Mahmoud.

SNHU GEM’s self-driven, blended higher education program, along with MAPs’ wraparound academic and livelihood supports, equipped Mahmoud to overcome many of the barriers refugees face when pursuing higher education. Mahmoud embraced this “golden chance,” and worked hard to improve his English and academic writing skills.

Through SNHU GEM, Mahmoud was not only able to pursue a university education but find a like-minded community. “When I started my classes, I met people like me. People that believe in the power of knowledge. That was the best part of my education.” Mahmoud also met and married a fellow SNHU GEM student living in Arsal.

Mahmoud holds an associate degree and recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management concentration in logistics and operations. Today, Mahmoud is continuing his education, pursuing a master’s degree that will be invaluable to his future plans. 

“I want to contribute to rebuilding my country after the war ends.” Mahmoud also hopes he will one day have the opportunity to travel to America or Europe, where he can make use of the skills and knowledge that he gained at SNHU GEM.