The sea outside my window has for the last few days been showing off what I consider its most beautiful side. Waves are crashing against the rocks where the fishermen gather to test their luck. One colleague said to me once that she had never seen a fisherman catch anything. Perhaps are they content with the meditation the act of fishing brings? Upstairs in the Blue Salon at SwedAlex a group of young women from Alexandria and neighboring governorates have gathered to discuss issues on how to improve things that they are not so content with. They are here to learn more about how women can become more active in politics and to share their knowledge with each other. Very much the same, I came to SwedAlex six months ago to learn more about its activities, about Egypt and Alexandria and to hopefully contribute with some of my knowledge to it all. SwedAlex’s activities span over various interesting themes and topics (women’s issues, youth, film, citizenship, education, religion in society and in politics, human rights, media etc.) but always with an aim to contribute to dialogue and greater tolerance and understanding between neighboring areas such as Europe and the Middle East and North Africa.

It has been exciting to meet people from all corners of the world discussing important issues such as religious dialogue or to participate in meetings with ambitious youth who aim to make the world a better place by organizing model UN and determined women and men who utterly believe they have found the recipe for democracy and development and are working as hard as they can to achieve the same.

The summer has come to an end and the winter is now arriving with new ideas and new beginnings. The Institute is moving into a busy winter program with numerous activities supporting both youth in politics, creating networks between researchers in the region on citizenship and education as well as organizing debates for the Egyptian public.
It is with sadness but also with pride I leave Egypt and the Institute. I am proud to have gotten to know the country as well as the region a little bit more and I bid farewell not only with a Ma’salama but also with an illa Liq’a.

Victoria Sjolander
Acting Deputy Director
April-October 2013