It was the opportunity to undertake postgraduate research that brought Amal Ghusain to the UK back in 1976. Little did she know that this would be somewhere that she’d still live 45 years later, and that Exeter would become home! Read below to discover Amal's Exeter story... 

What brought Cllr Ghusain to Exeter?

Amal was born in Kuwait, to Palestinian parents and had spent most of her time until that date, as a refugee, moving between Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, & London, before taking up postgraduate studies at the University of Exeter.

And things have certainly changed since then, today Amal plays an integral role in Exeter community life, as Elected Councillor for Culture and Communities, as well as the Chair of the Exeter Fairtrade Steering Group.

“My colleagues and I are only in our positions because people vote for us – but the best thing for me is feeling I can do my little bit to help promote positive things, and values in our city."

“Our resources are of course below what we need and want, but in increasingly uncertain times, and with ever more challenges and changes, our aspirations for a healthy and happy community are as strong as ever.”

Why does the city mean so much to Amal?

“Exeter has, in my view, a good mix of local facilities and attractions, a good community spirit, and is in a lovely part of the country. I think in ‘normal times’, what I like best is Exeter’s youthful presence, its dynamism and activeness, while still being an accessible and friendly place.”

And Amal’s role as Councillor for Communities and Culture gives her the opportunity to ensure that others benefit and can learn from Exeter’s accessibility and friendliness, something that she knows all too well from her life in so many different countries.

“My favourite place in Exeter is my own home. My family were refugees, forced from their homes against their will, and we have spent our life having to live elsewhere. Having a place that felt like home was therefore something I always felt I lacked. Exeter is the first place I have lived that I felt I came anywhere near to giving me that sense of belonging.

“This is something that I believe everyone should have the safety and security of; something which I am really proud the City Council actively believes too.”

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That’s Cllr Ghusain’s Exeter story. What’s yours?

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