Meet Mariem: a woman on a mission to drive positive change

How did you first hear about NXplorers?

Once I graduated university in Cairo, Egypt in 2017, I joined the Alamal Programme, which translated in English means the Hope Programme. This programme offered training and scholarships for geo-science students like me. As part of this programme, I was able to take part in the first ever NXplorers workshop in Egypt. The slogan of the programme was ‘to gain and give’, which has stuck with me ever since. The key was to share with others what we had learned and, once I finished the programme, I wanted to gain and give so much more. So, the year after I volunteered to be a co-facilitator, and I’m so glad I did.

What were your highlights as a student in the programme?

Looking back, the NXplorers programme was such an enriching experience. I was always so engaged and loved how interactive it was. One of the most memorable parts of the experience for me was learning about the different tools and methodologies and realising how I could use them in my own life. The Persuasion Pyramid, for example, was a really useful tool that opened my eyes about how you can use the power of perspective and information to change someone’s point of view, which I think is a life skill all people would benefit from.

Now you are a NXplorers facilitator yourself. What do you find important working with students?

I’ve realised that as human beings our minds tend to jump to conclusions, and the beginning of the explore phase is always the hardest. When we introduce questions to students they always want to jump ahead, and we need to tell them to trust the journey and take it with us step by step. I now know that I have to start really strong to make sure students understand the importance of what they’re going to learn and what they will gain from it. They don’t always give us their full trust in the beginning as they are not yet convinced, but then we reach the scenario planning phase and they begin to understand. I learned that I only have a small window to connect with these students, capture their attention and get my message across if I want to change their opinion.

Is there a particular highlight that stands out for you?

I will never forget when a student once said to me: ”I always thought that the big issues in the world would need geniuses and Nobel Prize winners to solve them and that there’s nothing we can do to help but, after taking this programme, I now see that it’s just a process, it’s a methodology - if I follow the process the right way then even I can make a change the world needs.”

What would you say to a student participating in NXplorers?

I would say be patient and try to open up your mind. You are about to embark on many changes, especially in how you think, that can provide so many new opportunities for you. If you try to stay open-minded to everything around you and are willing to look at things differently, then this is going to change your life. Trust yourself, be proactive and take action. If you take an action you have two possible outcomes: you’ll fail and learn from that, or you will succeed and learn from that as well.

Pictured: Mariem facilitating an NXplorers workshop in Egypt

What would you like to do in future with NXplorers?

NXplorers taught me to be open-minded, flexible, and open to learn from anything that comes your way. The buzz I get when I facilitate the programme myself has made me realise what talents I have. I used to lack confidence, but now communicating with people, persuading them and explaining something comes so naturally to me. The journey has been really inspiring and I would love to continue to make this kind of difference in people’s lives wherever I go.

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