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Rita Boutros is a proud Arab-American from Ebrine, Lebanon. Her ancestors immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s, established roots in Pennsylvania, and later moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the 1930s. Her parents, however, were born and raised in Lebanon and immigrated to Cleveland in 1972. She was born in Cleveland and spent the majority of her youth living in North Olmsted. For high school, she moved to Lebanon with her parents, where she studied at the International School of Choueifat––that educational experience exposed her both to the dysfunctional Lebanese political system and to the underrepresentation of women in the political sphere. (She further learned about the abject political reality in Lebanon when working at the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.) Indeed, that exposure impelled her to seek political education in the United States. And so, she enrolled at John Carroll University and obtained a B.A. in Political Science. But that degree neither assuaged her thirst for knowledge nor seemed sufficient to implement the change that she aspired to. She, therefore, pursued and obtained a Juris Doctorate Degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. (After all, the legal discipline is where all the other disciplines of the humanities converge.) Upon graduating from Case Western and receiving her bar license, she worked as a corporate attorney for a global corporation in the private sector. More recently, however, she transitioned to working for the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”), in the D.C. area, specializing in defense contracts. Thus far, her experience with the DoD has granted her insight into how governments can both operate efficiently and constitute a positive force in the lives of the citizenry. Now more than ever, this experience is exhorting her to exact the necessary change in the Arab World, creating systems founded on meritocratic principles. She is, indeed, extremely proud of her Arab heritage and of her affinity to the Arab community in the Cleveland area. She feels a powerful sense of belonging when she sees, in an unprecedented manner during her lifetime, the Cleveland Arab community heavily involved in the political process, attempting to make their voices heard.
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