Sunday, February 8, 2009

At International Student Festival in Trondheim 2009

Hanaa Al-Khamri, a 22 year old Saudi journalist from Al-Madina Press Establishment, participated in this year's International Student Festival in Trondheim, Norway. Her visit, which was facilitated by the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh, lasted for ten days during which she encountered cultures from all over the world. Below is the experience in her own words. 
The road from Oslo to Trondheim was covered with snow and students from every corner of the world got together as we arrived to the place for the exciting event. Already at the airport in Oslo I met a large number of  students from Peru, Mexico, Uganda, Zambia, Guatemala and many others. And at the airport in Trondheim we were all met by the organizers, and from there we took a bus to the student society. The International Student Festival was a huge happening, everything organized by bigger and smaller student organizations.
415 students from all over the world got together in Trondheim, and it became an international metropolis during 10 days. I got to know countries I have never heard of! The students were divided into 17 workshops each one treating different matters. I was in the workshop for human rights. It was lead by four Norwegians, and with me were 27 other students from different countries like Singapore, South Africa, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Scotland, China and others. I spent such a good time in this workshop, we discussed and had interesting conversations about human rights. It was in particular interesting to discuss the universality and the responsibilities of human rights, and death penalty among other complex and varied subjects.
The workshop was excellent in the way it consisted of educational games and competitions. We were all the time trying to know our different background and cultures better. Every day we met distinguished speakers from all over the world, and the students got to ask them questions. There were many great speakers, among them two Nobel Peace Prize winners, namely Desmond Tutu and Shirin Ebadi.
It is difficult to express all my feelings in this report, but I am now longing for this place that taught me so many things and made me feel special. It made me feel like I am a human being first of all, then a woman or any thing else. And now I believe strongly that we will not be able to change our societies for the better without knowledge and cognition. I owe my special thanks to the Norwegian ambassador and the Norwegian embassy that made my participation at ISFIT possible. The 10 days in Norway remain the greatest experienced I’ve ever lived…