NEW YORK/BOLOGNA, JULY 28 – Proud to be the only Italian winner, especially for representing a changing Italy: a country also made by citizens coming from foreign families. Marwa Hagi, 23 years old, born in Bologna from Libyan parents, is one of the 60 students of 27 countries rewarded in these days at UN Headquarters from the international contest Many Languages, One World organized by the ELS Educational Services and United Nations Academic Impact. Focused on the themes of multilingualism and global citizenship, the contest required an essay in one of the official languages of the UN (there are six) which should be different than one’s mother tongue. Marwa choose English.
6.000 students from 170 countries and nearly two thousand universities took part at the 2017 edition of the contest (the fourth one). “Showing to the world that Italy has become a multicultural country was an honour for me”, the student told OnuItalia. Marwa is currently enrolled for a master degree in International affairs at the political science department of the University of Bologna. She has chosen to take part in the contest after reading about it on the web site of the department. “I decided to participate because they gave me the possibility of writing an essay on topics of which I am particular interested about: global citizenship and the importance of multilingualism. I have a bachelor’s degree in Languages and coming from immigrant parents, I have always struggled to define my citizenship”
Many Languages, One World gave her the possibility of expressing who she is: a global citizen. “My group was the English one,. Surprisingly it was made of only women. Working with them was magnificent; we helped each other during our own hard times and gave each other essential advice during the preparation of our speeches. Mark Harris was our facilitator and he was the founder of this contest (CEO of ELS), working with someone so experienced was unforgettable”.
Collaborating with her group made the young girl from Bologna learn what does it mean to be a team: ”Having to share this experience with all the winners of the contest coming from all over the world and with a vast linguistic knowledge, was a dream. I made a lot of new friends and we have formed a united and tight group. I felt appreciated exactly for my multicultural identity and this have infused me with confidence in my personal abilities. Many Languages, One world helped me overcome my fear of public speaking”.
The speech in the majestic UN General Assembly Hall had to present solutions to reach goal number 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This goal promotes equal and inclusive societies: “For this reason I took the opportunity to talk about human trafficking in Italy as a result of illegal immigration. I think that collaborating with the international community for the fight against human trafficking is essential for Italy”. (@alebal)