Marwa, Reggio Emilia


Your life in a few lines, starting really from your birth

I was born 32 years ago in Alexandria by Egyptian parents, I have a five years old daughter and I am very proud of her! When I was around 2 and half I came in Italy living between Modena and Reggio (where we finally settled, so I had all my school time there, this is the city in which I still live).

I am graduated in languages (English and French) but I also got in depth with my mother tongue (classic Arabic) during my university and also with the Persian, it is a stunning language for its medley with English (it is a North European language!). I loved to return back to the origins of this study, especially for my mother tongue. I found in this new relation with it an unexpected wideness and depth, dense and full of beautiful meanings.

I started to work where I am now just after my degree and so, since then, I deal with intercultural projects. (Marwa is responsible of intercultural education for Fondazione Mondinsieme of Reggio Emilia Council).


Ramadan is ended since not so much and you joined it as a member of your religious community. Which is the sweetest scent and the most delicious flavour you like to recall to us from this annual break from abundance?

I agree with your definition of Ramadan, I also think the same. When you nurse something, you get finally aware of its uniqueness and preciousness: the Ramadan allows us to enter inside ourselves and be more conscious of the relation with what surrounds us – nourishment and silence included.

I do not see it as a privation – I mean the fact to do not eat and drink until sunset!

If you ask me which scent or which flavour, I reply to you with something you will maybe feel weird: the water. I know that it is per excellence the substance without smell and flavours but when you drink it only after many hours, you will recognize in it a crispy scent and a stunning consistence. I think, anyway and above all, that water is the tastiest nourishment ever.


By working for multicultural ‘diplomacy’ negotiating and building bridges every day, which is the most challenging milestone you can share with us?

You know, our job is really particular and I love your definition! Many times politics is not able to reach the quick and positive, as well as pragmatic, level of mediation the intercultural one has. Of course we speak of very different levels but….



I think that quite often the politics are also peculiar in negative…to do not say that they can be also dangerous but please keep going…I do not want to interrupt you…


Every day we have a plurality of challenges in our territory and during these years even more than ever. I can maybe seem banal now, but for me the most impressive milestone is when somebody is enabled to recognize the position of somebody else even by not accepting it. I speak of just being able to recognize another as a human being even if he/sh* is very different and even if it is the first time one opens up a little, because never before this person even embraced the idea to accept …


Please do imagine the very low profile chats, the ones you will probably listen to while waiting your turn at the doctor or by simply sitting at the cafe of your neighbour: in those cases you will find a true revelation of stereotypes and positions I define almost as a stronghold.

When I meet people who will never accept me for what I am but in some ways get in contact with me and with something that opened a bit their horizon the little enough to be closer and to pick my essence (even remaining on very different ideas and positions), I think we did a great job.



Tell us of a beautiful moment occurred to you recently, on a more personal level

To take part to a performance, so my debut in a theatre, few days ago! I joined an actors’ group and I really committed myself a lot to this. I love acting and dancing. I love to succeed to pass to others the same messages about diversity I deal with everyday with further languages.


Which is the music and the book with you now?

The African traditional music, for sure. It comes exactly from the piece we have put on stage. You know, I am touched from something unique coming from that cultural tradition: they dance barefoot, because we are not tree – rooted and stuck – but streams in movement.


I am fascinated by Mandela’s Ubuntu philosophy. And I am also loving the Vagina Monologues (by Eve Ensler). The reason for this last choice is especially driven by the actual women’s role, it is too exhibited in some parts of the world and too much hidden or brutalized in others. While, in the Monologues, you find the perfect valorisation of the female role and body which should be a current experience everywhere – beyond places, customs and religions.


Which are for you the most delicious food and drink?

Between the Italian and the Egyptian traditions is very…very difficult to choose, they’re both fantastic and full of ideas. If I have to choose a recipe, I am really fond for pastries and in general of the South Italy ones.

When it comes to drink, especially in this season, I love ginger, mint infusion and hibiscus flower tea.


Where do you go – if you like to do so – to live slowly or to go slower?

At the sea! I love the wideness of the horizon when seen from the beach and I think its attraction on me is coming from the fact that I was born in a seaside city, and in a great harbour, as Alexandria. I do not find anything better than loading my books and the music and to leave to look for the sea.


What did you learn from life until now?

Maybe it is still not so much. If I have to tell you at least one thing, I learned how to know the others, how to get them for how they are and where they are. I believe this is the salt of the earth.

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