Last week, as part of the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program, Aghssan, Maria Luisa and I participated in a cross-Canada speaking tour. But ahead of the tour, while still reviewing the schedule, I was really concerned about different facts:
Firstly this trip will be led by MATCH International not Nobel Women’s Initiative, so a different person would accompany us rather than our program coordinator.
Secondly I will be speaking in a different context that I am used to. I am used to speaking to Sudanese students and Sudanese women whose problems and interests I am familiar with, but now I have different audiences, people who might know about my country only from the map or the news channels.
Thirdly I will be engaged in my presentations with university professors, people with high academic knowledge on issues I am used to talking about from a very different perspective, a perspective of the ordinary, grassroots people.
Quickly all my negative feelings melted, beginning with meeting organizer Nuala Nazarko from MATCH International on our way to the airport. She was very interested in getting to know us more closely; similarly to all the great people we met in the two cities, there was a high level of solidarity and enthusiasm.
All the people we met were so lovely and they welcomed us in a way we felt “at home.” It was great opportunity for me to share my experience with great women in Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa as well as find out about the excellent work of the young feminists in Canada. All the stories I had heard from them made me more convinced that we ALL have a long way to walk as feminists and as people working in the human rights field in general.
I would like to thank all the people and institutes made our speaking tour successful: MATCH International, the local MATCH committees in Regina and Winnipeg, The women’s studies department at University of Regina and the lovely team there, all the professors from Winnipeg, Regina, Ottawa and First Nation Universities who participated in the panel discussions and who gave us the opportunity to share our stories with their students. Thank you to all the students who listened to us and actively participated in the discussions, The Center of Women Studies and the College of Social Science at University of Ottawa and the women rights’ activists from Canada who were part of the panel discussion and of course everyone who took the time to come to listen and participate in the discussion at all the events.