[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/28/art_ypwr_howcast2.jpg
caption=”Luqman ‘Luke’ Jubair, 22, seen here attending The Alliance of Youth Movements Summit in New York.”]
Luqman “Luke” Jubair is one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. I actually didn’t know what to expect when I first met this 22-year-old Iraqi man. He grew up in a well-off, well-educated Sunni family of doctors in Hit, about three hours outside of Baghdad, only to have his life turned upside down by war. He had always dreamed of being a doctor. At the height of sectarian violence in 2004, he endured daily threats of kidnapping and assassination going to medical school at the College of Medicine at Al-Nahrain University in Baghdad, in a predominately Shiite area.
Because of what he went through and the violence he saw around him every day, I thought Luke would be bitter or vengeful, but he is nothing of the sort. In 2005, he became a surgery assistant at a hospital in his hometown. Then, during the height of violence in the Anbar Province, he moved to the Al-Ramadi Hospital where the needs were greater. Even though he was helping his people, he still hid his identity from local gangs and militias in the so-called “Red Zone,” where he lives and works.
He tells me calmly and with a smile in his eye, the next year he teamed up with other young doctors and professionals – Sunni, Shiite and Christian – who were dealing with similar fears and encountering Iraqis with limited basic supplies or services. They started a group called, Iraqis Rebuilding Our Country, or IROC. The group reaches out to locals to help them help themselves primarily with language, health and computer education. On top of his service work with IROC, he also now works at the Al-Kadhimia hospital in Baghdad, where he says he still fears for his life.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview