Raheef Alturkmani tells his story via The Visibility ProjectJune 21st, 2023
The newest episode of the Midland-based podcast, The Visibility Project, shares a conversation about diversity and inclusion with Raheef Alturkmani, a Midland father of two employed by Dow Chemical Co. and born in Syria.
“I believe every person is a diverse person. Everyone brings something new to the table,” Mr. Alturkmani said. He is a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist and the Middle East and North African ERG (Employee Resource Group) Global Chair at Dow.
The Visibility Project is an initiative of the Midland Area Community Foundation’s Cultural Awareness Coalition. Amy Phoenix hosts the Visibility Project – a storytelling podcast to create a more connected, empathetic, and inclusive community by listening to and learning from individuals whose stories are too often unheard.
Throughout the podcast, Mr. Alturkmani discusses his passion for human resources, inclusion, and teaching. “Inclusion means I can be vocal about my background and who I am,” he said.
He came to the United States to advance his education and earned two master’s degrees at West Virginia University. He has lived in Midland with his wife and family for eight years and calls moving here “one of the best decisions of my life.” Born and raised in Syria, he also has lived in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Alturkmani values the freedom of religion and speech he has found in the United States. He shares leadership and teaching responsibilities with other members at the Islamic Center of Midland, which would not be possible in the current political climate in his native country.
He has participated in the Human Libraries at several schools in Midland to share his life story and perspectives. He said those events sparked great discussions, and the students asked intelligent questions.
Mr. Alturkmani wants to build a more inclusive community here in Midland and also across the country and the world so that “his son and daughter can grow up proud of their Muslim identity, proud of their Middle Eastern identity, as well as proud of their American identity because they are both United States citizens.”
He encourages people to avoid relying on the media or the Internet when seeking information about other cultures and faiths. “Go to the source,” he said. He suggests going to an individual and asking about their lived experiences.
To learn how advice from Mr. Alturkmani’s mother played a crucial role in his immigration journey and to listen to more of the conversation, go to https://www.midlandfoundation.org/thevisibilityproject/ or search for The Visibility Project wherever you get your podcasts.