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The Stevens Initiative: Soliya

The notion of identity – personal, religious, ethnic, or national – is one that has given rise to heated passions and fuelled nationalism inducing crimes throughout the history of mankind. What is it that makes each one of us unique and dissimilar is their collective experience and not their origin. The Stevens initiative truly shed light on the complexity of cultures and how stereotypes are broken.

Since an early stage in life, I have been interested in international relations which has instigated my fervent interest in social sciences. As a globalist, I firmly believe that humans need to increase their empathy and communicate more effectively. I believe that by integrating the knowledge attained from Soliya at AUC can be utilized in order to further enhance how I communicate and work effectively with people from different cultures. Being a highly motivated and ambitious individual who believes in the value of effective communication, and efficient time management, and risk taking, the Soliya program was a great fit for me.

            Prior to joining the Soliya program, I did believe that empathy is very important; however, what I believe was not what I practiced. Brought up in Egypt, we, Muslims, have starkly different values that have been challenged every step of the way during the program. Upon entering this program, which was a safe space where we were able to express our thoughts freely, I learned how to articulate myself with ease and have people actually listen. Thereafter, people would, in a very civilized manner, respond to my opinionated statements with their reflections. Having such different opinions from people around the globe usually tends to grab my attention and focus. I do recall our discussion about LGBTQ rights and how I starkly mentioned that I feel indifferent to such people. People thought I was barbaric for doing such; however, I calmly mentioned that my religion Islam forbids such practices and that I, Adham, honestly do not care about their existence as ling as they don’t bother me. Having such a mannered discussion with people from around the globe, I truly want to live in a cosmopolitan city. My dream is to live in a cosmopolitan city, probably Dubai, and become a renowned construction management consultant building skyscrapers all over the JBR skyline.

            On a separate note, I have truly enjoyed this program. Not only did it enhance my employability skills by enhancing my communication skills but also I broke a lot of stereotypes regarding the Arab world since I was the only Arab present and engaged. I have felt it was a national duty to represent my country, religion, and people in respectful manner. I hope to have succeeded in such. There is a need to mention that they need to become more engaging since the there were 5 minute silence period every time people asked a question. Finally, I am glad to have been part of this family and I hope I continue with my journey with the Steven’s Initiative as a facilitator.

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Published by adhamsherif99

Construction Engineering Student at AUC

2 thoughts on “The Stevens Initiative: Soliya

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