“Be the change you want to see in the world”

Anan is 28 years old. She is a young ambitious, perseverant Egyptian woman who strives to be successful, independent and effective citizen through dreaming big. She graduated in Faculty of English Literature and Language at Ain Shams University and pursued her post-graduate studies in Applied Linguistics, Media and Journalism, teaching and Assessment methodologies at the AUC. Her passion is to perfect what she does, learns, teaches, and to help others do the same. The case she is concerned with is to empower the “Egyptian Identity” through women and youth development. Anan Magdy Shendy's mentor is Shahira Amin.

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story! 

A: I am from Egypt, Cradle of civilizations. A democratic republic of blended ethnicities, Egypt is divided into 26 governorates consisting of towns, cities and villages. Currently, Egypt is home to some 90+ million Egyptians that are (almost) equally split between urban and rural-dwelling citizens, concentrated near the banks of the Nile in the major cities of Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Port Said.

A very provincial people, Egyptians have always had deep-rooted ties to their places of origin, so much so that even those who live abroad always return to the exact same town they had previously built a life in. It’s almost as if moving elsewhere is not an option. From this emerges the unparalleled warmth and intangible ‘closeness’ that exists between the people of this country, even in times of distress. A truly, unforgettably welcoming people.

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: Nowadays, the whole world is passing through a state of flux. Everything is changing, climate, ideas and ideologies, politics, media practices even our personal perspectives are changing. Despite the highly developed mental and intellectual heritage humanity has created, individuals are still questioning some basic long-discussed concepts like: Who are they? What is their goal in this life? How appearance versus reality?

However, opportunities to dig deep and rediscover who we are, are there. We are no longer scattered across continents, we share ideas, interact and communicate from around the globe through new media, entrepreneurship and education. We can tolerate our differences and search for similarities. We can bridge gaps and live in a fair, peaceful and happy world together.

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: 1. To be an independent young female and be accepted socially.

2. To follow my set of values and ethics at work.

3. To dis-conform with the social norm: to get married early.

4. To express myself as a strong woman in discourse communities.

Q: As a young individual what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: My disability to find a comfortable working environment to work in, that meet my set of values (transparency, equality of opportunity, quality-centered) and provide rewarding salary, benefits and security & development path.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

 A: A mentor for me is the key to dive deep in my ocean of possibilities and dreams, is the one who will help me to be selective, mix and match my abilities in order for me to showcase “the best version of me”.

Q: Do you have a lesson that life has taught you and you would like to share?

A: This is the main lesson of my life and main notion: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: HELM: HELM bridges the gap between persons with disabilities and all stakeholders to ensure their inclusion in all aspects of life.

Q: Share with us a phrase, a poem or a story that you love or you find interesting!

A: I majored in English Literature in my undergraduate studies and that is the reason why I have a lot of interesting stories from different genres. However, I will share with you something old and something relatively new.

First, Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem "Crossing the Bar" 1889:

"Sunset and evening star

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

but such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar".

Second, Elif Shafak "The Forty Rules Of Love" quotation:

“Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.”

“You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.”

“Let us choose one another as companions!

Let us sit at each other’s feet!

Inwardly we have many harmonies – think not

That we are only what we see.”

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.  

A: I have learnt from my mentor, Shahira Amin, to work hard in order to fulfill my goals and prepare well in advance.