Islam Mennara

Senior Facilitator

Country of origin: Egypt

Date started with Soliya: 2018

Education and field of work: I am a training specialist, providing education on intercultural and interfaith dialogue, human rights, gender equality, conflict management, language, and soft skills, both in the nonprofit and the business sector. I also founded a learning community in Egypt and one in Romania, where I now live. My academic background includes a BA in Languages and Culture from Cairo University and an MA in Intercultural Management from UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Inter-religious Exchanges, University of Bucharest, as well as complementary education in advanced training and facilitation techniques, business and project management, and conflict resolution.

One accomplishment you're proud of: I am particularly grateful for, more so than proud of, my fellowship on the role of women in peacemaking and conflict prevention with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. It was such an intense and memorable learning experience, stemming from the variety of professionals and organizations in conflict management and women’s rights, at a level that really offers a heightened awareness of our current issues and the role we can have in resolving them. 

What about Soliya inspires/motivates you to be involved? The inspiration this experience provides cannot be reduced to one facet or moment and my fellow facilitators would probably agree. Each step the group takes is enriching. Seeing participants genuinely understand a new perspective, feel safe enough to express and explain their own, and develop their way of conducting a fruitful conversation, addressing different issues in an effective way, is eye-opening. My fondest memories are of participants breaking the barrier that was preventing them from having a real dialogue and suddenly open up.

What can you be found doing when not working/facilitating/training? As a rule, you'd find me cooking, hiking, traveling, spending time with friends, and honestly, as it happens, engaging in intercultural dialogue even in my personal time. 

Favorite food: Lasagna, both classic and Egyptian style.