By Nayera Yasser
“A world named Africa” is a dream that gathered several undergraduate students in their faculty’s hall, discussing and dreaming of a more developed home continent that can conquer and defeat poverty, starvation and illiteracy.
Arabesque is a student activity in Aim Shams University powered by the Faculty of Engineering. The activity encourages the participant students to seek information about matters other than their syllabus, in an attempt to be active citizens who are capable of critical thinking.
“Arabesque League is an annual project aiming to develop and improve cultural and political awareness of students throughout sessions in different sciences,” said Deena Sameh, a member of Arabesque’s organising team.
Each year, the students get to choose a certain track, and over the course of a few months they learn all the basics about this specialty. This round, the activity celebrated four main topics: anthropology, economics, politics and history.
“The students were able to choose a track to attend its sessions and it took them to a whole new level of awareness regarding that science; in other words it enriched their mentalities with knowledge about it,” explained Sameh.
According to Sameh, the organising team aimed for a unique theme this time as they wanted to relate their activity to the recent events in Egypt. Therefore, this year Arabesque chose a new topic that could be easily related to the country’s foreign affairs.
“The project had an ‘African’ theme in order to increase cultural and political awareness about our continent. Moreover, we wanted to remind the participating students of their long forgotten African identity,” clarified Sameh.
It is no secret that Africa currently faces several issues that require global attention and immediate intervention from other African countries. At the same time, Egyptian-African relations have been significantly recovering lately, which is something that the student activity wanted to explain and convey to the younger generation.
After studying the four tracks through attending weekly sessions, it was the student’s turn to practice what they have learnt. In light of the African Union’s “2063 Agenda”, which lists suggested solutions for the continent’s key problems; the participants discussed and gave extra scientific answers.
“For the first time this year ‘Arabesque League Conference’ was held in order to give the students the chance to illustrate and apply what they have learnt during the sessions and to express their genuine ideas in public,” Sameh said. “The project focused on the ‘2063 Agenda’, which analyses many issues concerning Africa. It also illustrates some futuristic scenarios concerning Africa by year 2063.”
The conference was attended by several key figures, including the Coordinator of the African Youth Office and Deputy General Secretary of the Federation of African Youth at the African Organisation, Hassan Ali Ghazaly, as well as a judging committee from the Ministry of Youth to evaluate the students’ suggestions and take into consideration the effective ones.
“One of the main problems discussed was Africa’s raw materials; even though most of its countries are rich with gold, coal and water, the majority lacks the needed knowledge to make use of these natural resources. During the conference the students suggested several ways to implement these resources in effective industries and lifestyles,” said Sameh.