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The Nour Project is an initiative by AIESEC which promotes cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Europe and the Arab World. Twice a year, students travel to the MENA region for 6-8 weeks, where they are able to work with different organizations in fields such as education, sustainability, and culture.

On December 2nd the Nour team held its Preparation Day at Leiden University, bringing together participants of the Nour Project who will be going on their work placements in January-February 2019.

The session began with an Arabic lesson by professor Ibrahim Sharafuddin, where students learned useful phrases and were able to practice their vocabulary and pronnounciation.

Later in the day, Esseline van de Sande gave a workshop on Cultural Understanding, shedding light on the value of interactions with others and the power of inter-cultural encounters. These elements are key for accomplishing the mission of the Nour Project, as being in touch with a different culture can break stereotypes and provide both sides with a rich learning experience.

The Nour Preparation Day was finalized with two presentations by former MSR scholars from the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation, Afef Abrougui from Tunisia and Haya Omari from Palestine. Afef talked about Tunisian society, politics, and history, presenting interesting insights and key facts about her home country, in addition to travel tips for students going on projects there. Haya talked about women in Arab society, with a special focus on Lebanon and Jordan, which are popular destination countries for Nour participants. And of course, she emphasized how one cannot miss trying out some classics of Arab cuisine.

The Preparation Day was a great build up to the following weeks in which Nour participants will be heading off to different countries for their projects of choice. This winter, the selected countries are Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, and Jordan. Following their experience abroad, students will finalize their reintegration projects, which creatively illustrate how their experience has helped them bridging the gap between Europe and the Arab World.

Read more about the Nour Project and how to apply here.

To read about the experiences from previous Nour participants, click here.