Sunday, 3 December 2017

Soliya Reflection

Soliya Reflection

The first time my professor told me that we were doing something called soliya, I didn’t know what it was, then after she explained it, I was really excited to meet different people from the around the world. However there was one thing I didn't really like at the start and that’s when I knew the it is going to be for 2 hours, at first I thought that that it was a long time and I would normally have either midterms or assignments on that day, so I got a bit worried.

My first session then came and I really liked the way we introduced ourselves, and I got to know everyone in the group and everyone friendly and there were a lot of similarities between us even though we came from different cultures and countries. Some  people had different technical difficulties, which didn’t make the first session very smooth. Then the other sessions were very smooth and all of us were able communicate very well, i really enjoyed the sessions in which we had the freedom to talk a topic of our choice, as I would ask a lot of questions to people from other cultures to know more about that specific culture, and the same thing would happen to me. I also found that a lot of us really think alike and have the same opinions and ideas, this helped make the conversations a lot more easier and more exciting as we started to understand each other better. Then the mindset of 2 hours too long, changed as it just went by, because the sessions were fun, and I considered as change from always studying for exams and doing assignments.

I’ve learned a lot from soliya and from the sessions we had, which have affected the way in which I would conduct intercultural dialogue. Soliya gave me a lot more confidence when I get to speak, I know that my english is fluent but I didn’t really speak a lot with people from a different background, at first I wouldn’t really speak a lot, as I thought a lot of what I had to say before I speak, now I would just say on mind and I would listen and see others reactions and their comments on what I have to say. The most important lessons that I have learnt, where that I have to be patient when listening to others and that it doesn’t matter where we all come from, our backgrounds and culture build our characteristics and personality and ideals and beliefs but at the end we are all the same, we are all humans.  

Soliya Final Project

Pollution and Environmental Degradation in Egypt

            Egypt is an amazing country with a lot of beautiful sites and prestigious monuments, which shows the depth of it’s culture and history, however there is one matter which affects all of the above, and it’s pollution. Egypt is a highly populated country and there a lot of illiterate, ignorant and lazy people, which don’t really care whether pollution would affect their environment and their community. It’s become something normal to throw in the streets or in the river nile, some people don’t really understand how much they are damaging their country, also some people don’t have the patience to wait and throw their rubbish in it’s designated area. There are many types of pollution, there is air pollution, noise pollution, land pollution, water pollution and more, all of these types would aid in destroying any country and spreading diseases either in the air or in the water. Pollution could also cause environmental degradation, which means and undesirable change in the environment, this could lead to damaging soil, the depletion of water and air, also it could lead lead to destruction of wildlife and ecosystems. I chose this topic as pollution has always been a huge thing in Egypt, and I can’t see any change, and I can see an increase in pollution and it’s causing a lot of problems, it’s spreading diseases and it’s destroying beautiful places, and it’s damaging Egypt’s water source. I also want to send a message to the ignorant people who are the cause of this whether they are individuals, organisations or the government.

            After many discussions and research within this topic I have found and understood how dangerous this matter is to the country and the individuals living in it. One of the main types of pollution in Egypt is air pollution, and it’s caused because the huge numbers of cars in Egypt and because of the traffic in big cities like cairo, another cause is from the air-waste from factories and from the industrial sector. In an article by Dr Hassanein, he explained that the air quality in Egypt is more than 10-100 times of the acceptable world standards. This could cause many diseases like cancer, as the air pollutants in Egypt of a high percentage are hydrocarbons and lead, and they are considered as carcinogens. Water pollution has also been a huge problem for many decades in Egypt. People just throw their rubbish in the river, which leads to the water becoming contaminated and some people can’t even drink clean water. Also there are many leakage problems all around Egypt, in which sewage would infiltrate and contaminate the water. In a study assessing the rising groundwater levels in Aswan, one of the causes of the groundwater rising was the leakage from sewers. This leakage could come from sewage networks, which would lead to the increase in microorganism and algae in the water and “they are causing bad environmental impact on building and human health. In addition of directly environmental effect on building and human health of pollutants water of microorganism, the probability of pollutants water to seeps to the drinking fresh water pipes network increase” (Selim, Hamdan and Abdel Rady).

            When I talked with my peers I was able to get an idea of whether they have pollution or not and the extent of the pollution they would have. After listening to them i understood that almost every country would have some type of pollution, however they would react to it differently, some government take it seriously and are working very hard in solving this problem they are cleaning many areas, they are recycling their leftovers, and there are very strict laws when it comes to pollution. In Egypt there are also very good environmental laws, however the problems is with monitoring these laws ( Dr Hassanein).

I have given some examples of how pollution is negatively impacting Egypt, this doesn’t mean that aren’t ways in which we could prevent them or improve the current situation. One recommendation is that individuals take care of their vehicles, they they would regularly check and maintain their cars/vehicles, as if they are not working properly their exhausts would release poisonous and toxic gases into the atmosphere, which would spread diseases and negatively impact the air quality. Also there should be very strong penalties and regulation towards the industrial sectors, as their wastes, whether in the air, land or water are very dangerous, as there are a lot of dangerous compounds which could be fatal, so I believe that the government should intervene and stop theses wastes from leaving factories. The government has the largest role in trying to reduce and stop pollution, they should make the people aware of the danger of their actions, there many ways like direct marketing, which is a very effective way. They should also improve their monitoring section, so that people who brake the environmental laws should be legally dealt with, they would either pay a penalty, do community service, or even serve time in prison so that they would really learn of they are dragging their country backwards.   


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Soliya Readings

Stumbling Blocks in Intercultural Communication:

This is study was very interesting to read, as it looks at six different stumbling blocks in intercultural communication, Barna wants to know why it could be frustrating to to communicate with someone from another culture, the idea of everybody being friendly and understanding, is not always the options as there different aspect that act as a wall when having intercultural communication.

Out of all of the stumbling blocks, the one that stands out the most in my opinion is Preconceptions and Stereotypes. I believe that this a huge stumbling block, as now a days we base most of our opinions based on stereotypes, even you don’t mean too. This is something we face everyday, for example we can base looks, and how people dress with their social class, and whether they seem educated/literate or not. This is just one example out of infinite others, basing opinions on someone based on stereotypes just happens everyday I see on the streets daily, but it’s just how some people think these days. This quote really grabbed my attention “ Stereotypes are stumbling blocks for communicators because they interfere with objective viewing of stimuli - the sensitive search for clues to guide the imagination towards the other person's reality,” this basically backs the point I explained, and that some people could use stereotypes to imagine someone else’s reality.

Barna concludes with the different steps that we could take in order to avoid frustrations and misunderstandings during intercultural communications, and being aware of the six stumbling blocks explained is one way of avoiding them, she explains that it’s hard as, this requires for some people to stop habit of thinking. I think that one good example of this is Egyptians, we like to joke a lot, and we tend to have a humorous sense towards everything, even if it might cross the line, and these are habits that we grow up seeing. The conclusion that I really liked and that will conclude my reflection on this paper is “ we can use an investigative approach rather than stereotypes and preconceptions”.

The Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity:

The model created by Dr. Milton Bennet really shows the different stages in which individuals go through when the experience and engage cultural difference. I like how it starts by the person's culture is the more complex and there denial towards other concepts to being integrated between different worldwide cultures. I’m really interested in how he was able to base the stages using observations he made, and I believe that it’s very smart how he was able to breakdown the observations that he made into these different stages.

An Open Way:

I found this really fun to read, as I was able to relate to a lot of the suggestions given, as they make someone’s dialogue better, you would seem much less formal when talking and a lot of the suggestions say that we should “lower our defences” and this would make us more open for communication with people with different ideas or opinions that you, or even people from other cultures.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Reflections on Soliya

I found the first Soliya session to be fun and interesting, we weren't a lot in the session, we were about five or six during the session, and some people would come a long and leave, they weren't stable. I was always participating, and talking with the others, so that the session wouldn't seem boring and awkward, the facilitator tries as much as he can to keep us all connected with each other, bu talking to all of us and asking questions he was basically creating conversations. The activity that we did I during the first session was the same as the activity we did in our first class, so I found it very easy, I actually liked it as it was a fun way to introduce everyone together and so that we could all get to know each other much better. There were some similarities within our characteristics and aspects of our life, like a lot of us like to play football (most of them said soccer). I honestly didn't think that there was a huge culture gap between us as we communicate well, however tha main problem was other people's connection, there were only like 3 fixed people who didn't leave the others would just disappear then come back, and there were some which had problems with there headphones and caused interference, so it annoyed all of us, due to the horrible sound.

Overall I believe that the first session was a good one, however I would have liked to see more people as we weren't a lot, so that I could explore more cultures.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Gender Equality Game Final

Final Draft:
Reflection: Based on the feedback we had gotten we realized that the game was achieving its purpose of trying to raise awareness for Egyptians on how their unfair treatment of females, their words, their unrepresentative stereotype-based beliefs and the dictated cultural gender roles, put females through hardships and emotional pain on a daily basis. Through this game, it made male players both Egyptians and foreigners empathize with females in the Egyptian society as they “experienced the friction of society” (just like Keegan had expressed) over each life decision they made. We also got feedback from female players that this game was very relatable. These comment were very pleasing to hear.
However, we needed to make some changes to our game in order to enhance the storyline and gaming experience. Initially, we had a black and white minimalist theme in place but we were told that we needed to add images in order to convey the message even more. Therefore, we set a theme for the game revolving around female empowerment and added images to each slide to try to help the players feel like they are present in the situation. Each of the images we added to the game we had gotten using google searches with one of two usage filters: labeled for reuse and labeled for noncommercial reuse. This was in order to ensure we weren’t infringing any of the artists rights.
Additionally, we had received feedback on making the scenarios in our game more realistic and complex because we had several rare-case scenarios in place. And so, we made adjustments to our scenarios and revolved it solely on the experiences our research participants have shared in order to give the game a more realistic touch. Furthermore, in our first draft we had cemented the choices that involve resisting sexism and traditional gender roles as the ones that pave the road for successful, progressive women – while, sticking to the gender roles would always lead to unhappiness and little future prospects. However, we had to change that by making the decisions less binding to these scenarios and so we tried to highlight the relative safety of the traditional path and the struggles that a woman experiences when she does work against societal norms. This was to ensure that our game was not biased, and once again realistic, as the end scenarios were representative to an extent to real life as each lifestyle has its upsides and its downsides.
Lastly, if we had more time we would have stretched out our scenarios by adding more life stages and a wider variety of decisions for each stage – in order to be able to create a more wholesome game. Additionally, we would have also included secondary research about the topic as adding facts and statistics would make the game more educational and would help the audience empathize even more as these concrete statements will make them feel how real these scenarios are. Moreover, we would have liked to develop our game using a more creative software to create the game in the form of a storybook as it is relevant to our theme since our game revolves around the life story of girls but it was hard to find a software that allowed us to do so and inklewriter although it’s similar it was not what we were looking for as we couldn’t add images and colors.
Links to images used in the game:

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Gender Equality Game 1st Draft

Research Methodology:  We talked to 10 girls and women from AUC about the comments they'd hear from parents, extended family, friends and workers e.g. security guards and housekeepers. Then, we gathered all the comments they made and the suggestions and added them to the game (even though most were already in our prototype since we based it on comments that Fatma would hear as a girl and most females go through the same experiences)

Here is the link for the game:

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Dissecting The "Digital Divide": A Case Study in Egypt

Reading this case study I have learnt a lot, what really interested me was that technology isn't enough to bridge the digital gap, we need transformation. The example in Egypt really shows this, as the government has provided schools with the technology needed, but that was it. There wasn't enough teacher training, and they didn't know what to do with the computers, they held them aside, as they scared that they would be damaged. The students didn't really use them to learn, as there wasn't a transformation. Many things needed to change so that the students and teachers would be able to adapt to the new technologies given. In my opinion and as stated in the article, the Egyptian Government's efforts were not enough as, they provided very little, it seemed that they didn't study the case well at all, they just wanted to have the technologies, but they didn't know what to do with it, also it was very clear they weren't spending correctly, as the spent very little on teacher training. People in charge in the government, were scared to take decisions, due to the fear for their job security, they didn't care about making a difference and taking initiative.

My Question would be, when will there a government in Egypt that actually takes care of this problem of education, and that will actually the study this area and will appropriately spend on all aspects of education in Egypt?

Soliya Reflection

Soliya Reflection The first time my professor told me that we were doing something called soliya, I didn’t know what it was, then afte...