‘Everyone can and should help fix the problems of the world’

What does it mean to have a local SI NFGL network – and how can one network, or indeed one student, change the world? Taha Haj Ahmad, a Master Student in Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University, shares how his experiences with the Lund SI network have changed him.

'Everyone can and should help fix the problems of the world'

The SI NFGL in Lund started just like all the other local networks from SI, two year ago.

Since then, the scholarship holders managed to organize more than 15 funded events and a dozen gatherings, fikas, and trips, all in an effort to strengthen the connections and friendships between them and to truly help create the Network for Future Global Leaders.

I joined the network when I arrived in Lund, and now it has been a year since I became active in organizing events that are really related to my interests. This is one of the aspects of the local networks, to help the scholarship holders share their love and passion about a subject or a field with the other scholarship holders while increasing their knowledge themselves.

Throughout those two years, this network has been a huge source of inspiration to the newly arrived scholarship holders, most of all because they feel appreciated and that they can start having an impact on the world now. This really inspired and motivated me and many of my colleagues to voice our opinions, and to reach out to different stakeholders, like the universities and governmental and non-governmental organizations, to help us raise awareness between the scholarship holders and the students in general about many issues related to environment, peace and conflict, legislation, and other topics.

In addition, it helps them see the methods they can use to help make a bigger impact. We had a workshop about sustainability and ecological footprints, a lecture on peace and conflict and organizations in the field, a lecture about women’s rights in the Middle East, debates on the Syrian situation, another about recent Turkish events, a presentation about environmental legislation and a comparison among them, workshops on innovation and social entrepreneurship, a a visit to an ecological village in Gotland, and many more.

This kind of platform helps the scholarship holders understand that it is different in Sweden – that everyone can and indeed has to act to help fix the problems of the world.

This is especially true for the scholarship holders who come from troubled countries, like my case coming from Syria. It was a huge eye-opener and amazing realization to see the tools available just as I arrived, whereas in my country this kind of contribution is highly monitored and regulated – and sometimes forbidden.

Moreover, after I saw the open horizons, I started to get more involved and moved to work with the SI network of Syrian scholarship holders. SI was very supportive and helped us organize many events for the Syrian network, where we gathered from all over Sweden in Stockholm, and touched on many topics like sustainable rebuilding, social entrepreneurship, migration and integration.

This in turn helped strengthen the network of Syrian scholars and led to a couple of projects and workshops about the future of Syria and the Syrian community here in Sweden. Furthermore, after working with SI for more than a year, I decided to try and widen my contribution and started to volunteer with other student organizations to help and gain more experience. That led me to work with ESN (Erasmus Student Network) and others.

The memories that I have and experience that I gained in SI NFGL Lund will stay with me forever, and all the friendships that I formed here will help all of us become what we aspire to: Future Global Leaders.

Finally, the ride that I have had since I came to Sweden, with SI NFGL Lund and all the other organizations, was truly amazing and motivating, and helped me realize that the world can and will be better place if we stand up and keep working hard for our future and what we believe.

Written by Taha Haj Ahmad, Master Student in Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. From Aleppo Syria. Current Chairman of the board of the SI NFGL Lund and President of ESN Lund