OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Wednesday, Oklahoma high school students heard a message of peace in the wake of escalating violent extremism and terror.

At the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum – the teens heard from a French mother who lost her own son in a terror attack.

Latifa Ibn Ziaten
Latifa Ibn Ziaten, Courtesy: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Visiting here, all these miles away, Latifa Ibn Ziaten says she feels and understands the impact terror can have.

“It gives me goosebumps,” said Ibn Ziaten. “Every terrorist attack, every problem in the world just wakes up the pain inside.”

Ibn Ziaten lost her son in the Toulouse, France terror attacks of 2012.

“He was a wonderful man,” Ibn Ziaten said. “He wore his heart on his sleeve. The wound you have is on the inside and it never closes. It’s just as if it were yesterday.”

She took that pain and turned it into positivity – becoming a peace activist – spreading her message around the world – including here at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

“Be respectful, be successful in life – but foremost in life – you have to be a good citizen,” Ibn Ziaten told the students on Wednesday.

Speaking to students from three local high schools, she discussed the importance of peace – as well as dialogue and mutual respect – in this time of escalating extremism and violence.

“The only thing I want to remind everyone is to work toward a better future for everyone, we all have a part to play,” Ibn Ziaten said. 

“It’s very inspiring to me that she can be able to raise her voice like that and talk to people and get her message out into the world,” said Mustang High School student Carah Day. 

Making sure messages like Ibn Ziaten’s are heard – is a vital part of the museum’s mission.

“It’s almost our responsibility to offer our assistance in memorializing these events and learning from them and hopefully, through education, preventing future events,” said Stephen Evans, Director of Education and Public Programming at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

The program was put on in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.