Inside Room 702: Q&A with Ismaeil Dawod (Frankfurt, Germany), Apprentice
After 50 years, revisiting the iconic Bed-In for Peace
As Hilton celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, it also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Bed-In for Peace which took place March 25, 1969, in Room 702 at the Hilton Amsterdam with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The now-legendary moment in time is not only part of Hilton’s history, it is a reflection of Hilton’s culture.
To honor their commitment to their communities and recognize their philanthropic efforts, Hilton invited two people who truly embody the Room 702 spirit – Serby Castro, a Suite Attendant at an Embassy Suites by Hilton in Orlando and Ismaeil Dawod, an Apprentice at Hilton Hotels and Resorts in Frankfurt – to visit a symbolic Room 702 in their own hotels. Once inside, they received news that would change their lives.
Get to know the people behind our Room 702 stories as they talk through their journeys of strengthening communities and spearheading social change, under founder Conrad Hilton’s belief that world travel can lead to better understanding among people and contribute to global peace.
Ismaeil Dawod, Apprentice
What was it like pursuing a career in an unfamiliar country as a refugee? How did Hilton make you feel at home?
Being a refugee meant everything is unfamiliar, and the journey can be isolating. When I first arrived in Germany, Marc Snijders, the General Manager of Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, welcomed me as a human being and not a refugee. I was able to start fresh here, not as a victim but as a person with hope for my future. I received unwavering support from my Team Members and managers to pursue my passions and develop professionally through Hilton’s apprenticeship program. I took language lessons in German to be able to connect more personally to the guests I serve daily, and now commit to continue to help refugees like myself navigate new spaces.
What have you seen change in your life since working at Hilton?
I came to Germany as a refugee, hardened from the things I experienced, discouraged by the thought of starting over, and with nothing to my name. Hilton has given me back the things life has taken away from me – family, friends, opportunity, and safety.
What about the Room 702 story inspires you?
Room 702 reinforces the obligation I have to myself and those connected to me to be intentional and purposeful. If we all can collectively make small decisions that would help make our world a better place, it would add up to big results. Hunger could end, and access to healthcare and education could improve if we simply decided to operate from a place of love and compassion.
Ismaeil Dawod, a refugee who sought new opportunities in Germany, found a job at Hilton Frankfurt where he is now engaged in an apprenticeship program. Ismaeil’s moving story shows his determination to start his life over. Along the way, he uses his new language skills to assist other refugees.
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