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A black-and-white headshot of a smiling man with short hair and full beard. He wears a collared shirt. Behind him are three graphic circles: one teal, one blue and one white.

Chris Akel

UChicago Obama Scholars 2022-2023


Co-founder, Pathways





Chris Akel is the co-founder of Pathways, an organization that serves to enhance English education, college access, and youth development for rural, refugee, and low-income communities in Palestine. Chris was previously a K-12 teacher and college counselor in both the United States and Palestine, and is currently transitioning to work in community-based mental health and therapy in the U.S. Through both avenues of prior experience, he seeks to support Pathways’ long-term vision to support broad access to counseling and mental health support for Palestinian youth by connecting the U.S. diaspora community and resources with those in the West Bank and Gaza.

Chris is pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.