Ahmed is motivated by his passion for civic engagement, intercultural dialogue, the arts, and filmmaking. He decided to apply to the Lazord Fellowship because of his strong belief in arts and culture as a method for social change. Ahmed was particularly engaged during college, writing and translating several published articles on the social and political situation in Egypt and globally. He also volunteered and participated in many civic engagement projects and exchange programs in Egypt and abroad. Ahmed is an art enthusiast who is passionate about photography, videography, creative writing, and storytelling. Since 2017, he has written, filmed, edited, and directed several short films that have been submitted to film festivals, winning awards in Egypt and internationally.
Mariam’s story started when her grandfather moved from Nubia to Alexandria more than 6O years ago to search for a better life. Mariam was born and raised in Alexandria. As a Nubian girl, it seemed like she had good luck, better opportunities in education, and roads to explore arts and culture in life. However, she believes that history has a tendency to repeat itself. As memory fades, events from the past can become events of the present. Exploring origins, roots, and history is what has moved her forward in most of her life and educational experiences. After choosing to study fine arts, she specialized in sculpture. Through this, she explored her connection with clay, connecting back to her Nubian roots, as clay used for sculpture in Egypt comes from Aswan.
She decided that her mission and purpose in life was to take advantage of various opportunities and experiences, to go back to Nubia to share what she has learned, and to start a learning community. She believes that if people feel that you trust their knowledge, culture, and work for their needs, rather than for your own plans, they will in turn trust and support you. Mariam is planning to gain more knowledge and skills that will help her achieve her purpose. She wishes to create a space for informal education, peace building, and a learning community where knowledge is shared between women, families and generations, in order to preserve language, culture and history; she hopes to help her community create their own way for sustainable development through their own efforts.
Mariam perceives this fellowship as an opportunity to interact through a network of colleagues, alumni, and mentors from diverse professional backgrounds and cultures coming from all over Egypt. She perceives networking as a very important step to integrate different experiences.