The one who was many things

49949870_621376574998900_6517916667601747968_n(13:30) . I am proud of being Arab and I won‘t forget where I come from and the beautiful things it has instilled in me; which is why I find it unfortunate that some people and media associate the word ‘arab’ with many things but beauty. There are stigmas and preconceived ideas about us nowadays. There are also double standards well present in some mentalities: such as when people automatically point out to people of Arab descent when sad events or crimes happen in Europe. Inversely, one rarely sees a positive representation in the media, of Arabs well integrated in Europe ! This needs to change. In my case, I consider myself Arab and also European and I don’t perceive a distinction between the two; for me they are perfectly compatible. I feel that although the core of my identity is in Lebanon, being abroad has shaped me in many other ways and thus the definition of my identity became more complex than one word. I studied in the UK and am now based in Belgium and these experiences – the people, the cultures and the languages I learned and encountered – are now part of me. Should one split them or take one away, then that would equate taking away a part of me. So, yes I do very much feel Arab but I also define myself as many other things. My identity is only for me to define. Thankfully, people in Brussels are rather open : I have friends from everywhere and I work in an ecosystem that values my skills, without questions about my identity coming up. This makes me feel like I can be anything I want here. Hey – by the way – I acquired the Belgian citizenship now! (He smiles)

Mohamad (nicknamed Mo) is the head of an innovation hub in the financial sector in Brussels. By his words: ‘since living in the EU my mission has become to advise and educate on innovation. The world is moving fast and even EU Policy makers are trying to find ways of tackling existing challenges.’

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