Ikram Ben talha

Connect Program Fellow Fall 2020; 1YC Fellow Summer 2020; Senior Facilitator

Country of origin: Morocco

Date started with Soliya: 2016

Education and field of work: I am very passionate about strategic dialogue, peacebuilding, and cross-cultural exchange. Besides my virtual exchange engagements, I work to support a post-glocal understanding of peace and diplomacy. I will be graduating soon with an MA in English Literature and the History of Ideas. One of my main interests is bridging the two worlds of literature and politics. I also work as the vice president of a local organization that focuses on the development of a clean and healthy environment. My most recent project focuses on cleaning and restoring cemeteries.

One accomplishment you're proud of: Being part of a big cross-cultural network of youth changemakers. In 2019, I was chosen by the US Embassy to represent my country in the United States as a MEPI Students Leader. This experience helped me gain a deeper understanding of governance and civil society to develop my civic engagement projects. Once back to my country, I embarked on two different projects that target environmental protection and youth political engagement. Both the US International Exchange network and my Erasmus+ family play an important role in supporting my ability to give back to my community and to the world.

What about Soliya inspires/motivates you to be involved? There is a special recipe that makes me unable to skip a semester and not be involved with Soliya programs. One tablespoon of empathy, a full cup of community building, and spices of empowerment. Once you know what a virtual exchange family tastes like, you always come back for more.

What can you be found doing when not working/facilitating/training? Reading books on psychology, doing yoga, or enjoying a warm virtual cup of coffee with friends.

Favorite food: Tofu rice bowl with roasted sweet potatoes and sesame dressing – yummy!