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“Let’s celebrate our diversities”

Jumana Eltgani from Sudan talks about “aha” moments in Germany and makes a passionate plea for diversity. 

ifa: Jumana Eltgani
Jumana Eltgani © ifa

Jumana Eltgani describes herself as a “product of diversity”. An African Muslim born in Saudi Arabia, she currently lives in Sudan and completed parts of her studies in South Africa. After acquiring a degree in chemistry, she continued studying in the field of community-oriented work. In 2015, she supported the Nuremberg Human Rights Center within the framework of her CrossCulture fellowship. The “Celebrating Diversity” event is her contribution to ifa’s CrossCulture Tour: it is a passionate plea for diversity and an urgently needed model to counter nationalist movements.

Ms Eltgani, you took part in the CrossCulture programme. Please tell us about your most important experience during your internship at the Nuremberg Human Rights Center.

The most important experience was the opportunity to explore the human rights issue in Germany. I had the chance to see that some of the human rights challenges faced by Germany and Sudan are similar. Even in Germany some women are still fighting for their rights, and some women and children are suffering from domestic violence. Looking at this problem and being introduced to some of the interventions enabled me to consider various interventions that could perhaps help me in my work in Sudan.

To what extent has this exchange influenced your cultural work in your home country?

This cultural experience was an eye-opener in many respects. It was amazing to observe how people from a different culture relate to each other, how they behave, act and live. This experience opened my mind to things I had never thought about before, and taught me a valuable lesson, namely that I should do things differently and promote the creative side of my personality. 

And how do you think your presence has inspired people in your host organisation?

I believe that many people were inspired by the stories I shared about Sudan – the way people live there, our struggle to build a better country, and the positive aspects of the country that many do not know about. Many were introduced to a Sudan that they do not hear about on TV. 

When you think back to your first visit to Germany, what did you find surprising? 

The “aha” moment for me came when I discovered how Germany “works”. Everything has its place, everything is ordered. 

“Celebrating Diversity” is your contribution to ifa’s CrossCulture Tour. What did you set out to do?

Looking at the current state of the world and at how our differences cause problems, conflicts and wars gave me the idea of providing a creative space in which to tell stories that celebrate our diversities. My intention is to open a discussion about the strength of diversity and to promote our differences as a way of contributing to the dream of a diverse and peaceful world. 

CrossCulture Plus internships: changing perspectives