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PodcastThe Courage to Hope

The Courage to Hope

"In a time when there’s a constant stream of negative news coverage and criticism, it’s more important than ever to tap into our collective reserve of hope: the belief that life can be better tomorrow than it is today. In this episode, Ammar sits down with actress Dina Shihabi (from the Amazon Original Jack Ryan) to talk about how growing up in Arab countries shaped how they view themselves and the world, and how hope was (and still is) the backbone to their wildest dreams. "

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I saw the great pyramids of Giza for the first time when I was four years old, my dad took me to show me what was possible on this land. These are gigantic structures. I distinctly remember looking up and being in total awe. And at the time I was maybe like three feet tall, so they absolutely towered over me. I asked my dad right away, (speaking in foreign language) which means, can I climb to the top? And he said, (speaking in foreign language) which means, Ammar, absolutely not. And in that moment, I remember thinking when I'm older, I'm going to climb this pyramid. For years after that, every single time I saw the pyramids, which is a lot when you live near Cairo, I always thought about climbing them, especially Khafre, the tallest of the three. You have to understand I'm a huge dreamer, head in the cloud sort of dude, and I've always been this way. I believe I can reach for more than what's been handed to me, my hope is what directs the decisions I make. It's really the core of who I am. If I didn't have hope, I would've never left my father's farm in Egypt. Hope is what grounded me in believing I could forge my own path. During the spring, (children singing in foreign language) hundreds of thousands of people protested against oppressive government, using social media to organize and share information. I was studying in South Africa at the time, so I had to watch it from afar via YouTube and Facebook, as my people took to the streets. President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak has decided to wave the office of the president of the Republic. That experience solidified my dream of using social media as a tool to wield positive change. Just like my heroes in the revolution, it's what eventually gave me the drive to leave the continent and attend college across the world. 16 years after that first visit to the great pyramid, I was an undergraduate student in Canada, studying how storytelling technology and media connect. But even when I knew that Egypt had made some progress, global news coverage couldn't have seemed darker. Visitors to the famous Giza pyramids, once a huge draw for American tourists have all but disappeared. Gas lines are hours long. The country's basically not functioning. There's no security- The media depicted the new Egyptian regime as incapable, claiming that the Arab spring had largely failed, but I still believed in the power of our people. Would once created the freaking pyramids and would overthrow the government. If we could do that, then we could do anything, right? And that's when it hit me. The plan was simple, I would climb Giza, capture it on a GoPro and tell the story. To hopefully change what Egypt stood for in the eyes of people all around the world. Most importantly, it would remind people at home of what was possible. I...


Duration34 min

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