Ayia Napa 35: WSCF-ME Annual Leadership Training Program
Between Youth Influence and Influencing the Youth
The World Student Christian Federation - Middle East Region held “Ayia Napa 35” in Cairo, Egypt, between October 2nd to 7th, 2021. “Ayia Napa” is another name for the region’s annual leadership program, which aims to train youth to become future leaders who will positively reshape their communities in the Middle East and will commit to witnessing their faith in Church and society. The thirty-fifth iteration of “Ayia Napa” was titled “Between Youth Influence and Influencing the Youth,” tackling the mutual influence that youth and the world around them have on each other. In attendance were forty youth from SCMs in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, and Syria.
The event included lectures, Bible study sessions, ecumenical workshops, and activities for the participants to get better acquainted. Some of the specific topics broached during the event include youth’s role in influencing the Church and the Church’s role in solving youth problems. Different sessions took place:
- First session: “Discover Your Rights and Political Influence”
- followed by two social justice sessions, one focused on humanitarian issues and the other specifically on women’s issues.
- “Ask the Pastors,” meanwhile, allowed the youth to openly ask burning questions to experienced pastors from the different denominations.
- There was also practical training in narrative analysis, as well as a workshop for participants to think of possible solutions to problems brought up during the program.
- Cultural evenings were also planned along with trips to places within Cairo.
An enriching experience for the youth, they each returned home inspired and eager to practice what they learned in their own communities. “Let’s boost our churches and society with what we’ve learned,” said Andrew Tawdros from Egypt after completing the program. Yousef Imad, also from Egypt, said that the program “exceeded expectations” and that “the atmosphere between individuals was… filled with mirth, laughter, and acceptance.” Gaëlle Francis from Lebanon said, “many of the sessions were fruitful and awakened in us things we didn’t know existed, giving us hope for tomorrow.”