Salam 3alekom wa ra7mato allah wa barakato….
Dair abda bel awal be takreem wa shokor al sayd tarik le majhoodo al jabar fe ta7reek wa tarjee3 al (jaleya) wa tanseem al barnamij al reeheb al lati ni7na kolana mabsooteen beho. Wa bardo dair ashkor al sayed dr taha elhagg wa al sayed ali askouri, awal ashan adona min wakitom al gali, wa bardo ashan mamnoonin le al forsa nakhod min khibratom al was3a. Man 3ashara gawoman 40 youm sar mithlahom.
Im sorry guys, unfortunetly im going to switch it to english. I would like to firstly introduce myself, my name is ashraf nageeb khalifa. I graduated from the university of surrey in 2010, with a bsc in entrepreneurshipin techhnology, it and business. Thankfully as my degree program was part of the engineering department at uni, i am qualified to speak to you today 😉
Back to the topic of today that i am meant to be speaking to u about. Sudan hub, so what is sudan hub. I think the best way to describe sudan hub is that it is a a project that started way back in 2011, as well as being a personal journey to discover my sudanese identity, my roots. But at the same time it a project that is driven by being self sustainable and has never been about profit.
The main reason for starting this project is a little bit of a personal story, but also a long winded story which would take me over my time limit, so ill share some of the shorter driving motivators with u instead.
Firstly I didnt have a typical sudanese upbringing, or for that matter typical by any standards. Due to my dads work, we were transfered from country to country every four or five years growing up, and i went to eight different schools growing up in five or six different countries. I would go to sudan most holidays, and i even had the good fortune to live there for two years, after a holiday ended up as a permanent holiday.
I lived in sudan during the peak of the bashir years. Right after the signing of the CPA, peace with the south, revenue sharing. And i went to khartoum american school. One of the things that really sticks with me is hearing about the sunt project, which was meant to create a large business hub, office space, financial center which was going to be the biggest in africa, and a rival to dubai. Unfortunately this project like many in sudan did not come to completion.
Due to unforeseen circumstances i ended up moving to uk temporarily, and im happy to tell you all that i am still here temporarily nearly 9, 10 years latter.
It is that temporarily mentality i discovered played a prominent role in my dna and make up, when trying to discover who i am as not onli a sudanese 26 year old, but a sudanese full stop.
That is what sudan hub is. Also the other primary motivator was the blank looks on peoples faces when i tell them im from sudan. I quickly discovered that there several gaps which i wittnesed first hand made it hard for me to figure out what it means for me to be sudanese.
The first is the gap between us sudanese in diaspora, and the local sudanese. Especially prominent at a younger age gap. Im sure many of you might have witnessed this first hand when constantly trying to keep upto date with the latest slang. And then u know when u forget the meaning of that one word in arabic, and so u desperately try to avoid but then u end up with no choice and so u say it in english. And wow the reaction is just so unbearable, shofo da khawaja, shayeef nafso a7san minana.
The second gap i found was between the older generation and the youth. Not the little kids, but the youth. Thankfully i grew up politically neutral, and so i dont have any stones tied around my waist, and this lets me attend any sudanese event no matter which party or organisation is hosting it, without having to deal with any headaches, or inner turmoil, or debate. And i have noticed that from all events across the board sudanese people from the ages 17-30 just do not attend, have no interest.
That was why i decided to use the bridging the gap slogan.
I am both a youth and a diaspora, and half an engineer. So i wanted to share my own personal experience with you today.
From my near four journey i learnt so many things about my country, my culture, my city, my family, my history. I discovered sudan has more than 300 pyramids, i learnt sudan has the most diverse range of tribes and languages in africa, most importantly the importance of the city of suakin.
I learnt that sudan was a country in the continent of africa. And this made me look bak on my life and realise. I have recently come to the conclusion that there are two men inside my head, both of equal size and strength fighting for control. One is the african man inside me, and the other is the arab man. Because they are so equal one side can onli donminate for small periods of time. But i feel this is a global battle. The real battle for what it means to be sudanese. Unfortunately due to their equal prowes the two men decided to split everything in half and not have to deal with each other, which has lead to more issues and problems. Because these men can onli live together in harmony. And with out the other they will just start the battle all over but this time in their own head.
I want to take u bak to something i said earlier. Man 3ashara gawman 40 youm sara mithlahom. I think that is our biggest issue as sudanese. Its that temporary menatlity, one foot wherever you are, and one foot back home in sudan. As the older generation it might work for you. But as youth no chance. This just leads to confusion. I can prove this in action quite easily. Most of you older generation are quite annoyed with me for deciding to do my speech in english, while the youth actually love the fact i decided not to do it in arabic. We live in england where the main offical language is english. Im suprised that the whole event was not in english, in the same way im suprised that sudanese events in France are not in french, in spain in spanish, in malaysia in mali, in kenya in keswahili.
I learnt that sudan has over 500 dialects or languages. We should be proud of this fact but instead what do we do, we call it rutana, dismiss it. We should be proud to come from a place that is so diverse and cultured, we should be honored proud to be able to say good morning to our neighbours in their own languages, and even more when they reply in ours.
My aunty told me of when she went to school inthe 50s and 60s, she was taught english arabic and french fluently. And was taught to play tennis, swim and netball.
We should have at least 7 of our national languages in our school ciriculaum.
I leave u with sudan hub groups moto: unity, diversity and prosperity.
Salam 3alekom wa ra7mato allah wa barakato….