The American University in Cairo, Mariam Mohsen,

Connect program spring 2024.

Final reflection paper

As I wrap up my experience in Connect Express, I’m eager to reflect on the enriching cross-cultural communication experiences fostered by Soliya.

Question 1: The dialogues and exchanges within Connect Express ventured into deeper territories compared to conventional conversations. We explored nuanced topics such as identity and inner voice, sparking insightful discussions. For instance, we shared anecdotes about how our cultural backgrounds influenced our perceptions and interactions with others. One participant shared their journey of traveling abroad, revealing how it broadened their perspectives and challenged their preconceptions. Additionally, the topic of Palestine arose, prompting respectful dialogue among participants. As an Egyptian Muslim woman, I took the opportunity to shed light on the complexities of the issue, advocating for understanding and empathy while respectfully defending my perspective. We also explored the concept of inner voice, with participants sharing personal experiences about overcoming self-doubt or navigating conflicting thoughts. These discussions highlighted the importance of creating a space where diverse viewpoints are welcomed and respected, contributing to mutual understanding and growth.

Question 2: Through my participation in Connect Express, I gained a deeper understanding of my communication style and interpersonal dynamics. I discovered a penchant for empathetic communication, often prioritizing active listening and validation of others’ perspectives. For example, I made an effort to create space for quieter voices to be heard during our discussions, ensuring that everyone felt included. As someone with a visual impairment, I also became more attuned to accessibility considerations in communication. I advocated for clear communication and provided alternative formats for materials to accommodate diverse needs. These experiences reinforced my belief in the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in communication, ensuring that everyone, regardless of background or ability, feels valued and respected. Additionally, the facilitator’s practice of asking participants to state their names before speaking was particularly helpful for me, as it allowed me to identify speakers and fully engage in the conversation.

Question 3: Moving forward, I am committed to fostering constructive communication in all facets of my life. Personally, I will continue to prioritize empathy and understanding in my interactions, striving to create inclusive spaces where diverse perspectives are celebrated. In my professional endeavors, I will advocate for accessibility and inclusivity, working to ensure that all individuals have equal access to resources and opportunities. In my community, I will actively engage in initiatives that promote cross-cultural understanding and dialogue, fostering connections and building bridges across diverse communities. Ultimately, I will continue to champion the idea that everyone’s voice matters and deserves to be heard, contributing to a more inclusive and empathetic society.

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