EuroArab Goes to Algeria – Day 1

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Towards a better mutual understanding…
Building cultural bridges between Europe and the Arab world
, by Yassine Sboui from Mahdia, Tunisia

Traveling hundreds of kilometers… Spending 13 hours on the road… Discovering a new country… Experiencing the hospitality of local people…
That is how my journey in Algeria began, a neighbor country that I wanted to visit for a long time.
And now the time has come, not just to discover this beautiful country, but most importantly to take part of a rich cultural exchange gathering youth from different countries of Europe and the Arab world. Today, I had the pleasure to meet nice people and I quickly made new good friends who are coming from Algeria, Hungary, Belgium, Egypt, Spain, Tunisia, Belgium, Italy and Ukraine.

We started our day with a lecture held by Dr. Ahmad Guessoum about the intercultural issues focusing especially on the Algerian specificities; going through the history and culture of Algeria and the whole Arab and Muslim world. A debate followed the lecture and led the participants to go deeper into three main branches of both societies: Culture, Religion and Poltics. With that, they could clarify any possible doubt they had and avoid all misunderstandings.

Our next destination was the museum of prehistory and ethnography located in the city center. I thought that I left the Bardo Museum in Tunisia but I found out that Algiers also has a nice museum that was holding the same name.
A large part of the museum was dedicated to represent an old traditional outfit called “Hayek” that Algerian women used to wear. We have a very similar one in Tunisia that we call “Safsari”.
Our guide introduced us to the way that outfit was made, the traditional tools used in the process, the different kinds of “Hayek” varying from one region to another and its importance in the Algerian history especially during the revolution against the French colonization when women risked their lives hiding weapons under their outfits and delivering secret messages to the revolutionaries.

Thereafter, we were invited to the office of Human Development Network where we met Mrs Nawel Guellal, the general manager of our host organisation, who kindly shared with us her experiences working with international NGOs. We talked about the differences in habits and behaviors of people around the world. We all considered that being with such different people allow us to learn and develop our skills and personality. We also discussed what it takes to succeed in a multicultural environment. We agreed that working in a team with members coming from different cultures and backgrounds can bring new ideas, develop innovation and so lead to both personal and collective success.
By the evening, we celebrated the EuroArab night, enjoyed a great mixture of food and sweets that participants brought from their countries and had so much fun dancing on the rhythms of Arabic music.
I’m more that satisfied with today’s income. I can’t wait for the rest of the program, and I feel lucky to be here sharing this experience with my new friends. :)
-Looking forward to the next chapter-


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