Afikra uni­ties a cu­ri­ous com­mu­nity

Executive Magazine - - Contents -

don’t be­lieve cu­rios­ity kills cats. If any­thing, cu­rios­ity fu­els life. It in­spires learn­ing, and nour­ishes per­sonal growth, and ac­cep­tance. Cu­rios­ity fos­ters ex­plo­ration, chal­lenges per­cep­tions, and dis­misses fears. It’s a beau­ti­ful thing.

In his quest to ful l his own cu­rios­ity, self-pro­claimed nerd, Mikey Muhanna, is in­spir­ing oth­ers to do the same with an upli ing ini­tia­tive that’s quickly spread­ing among Arabs (and their friends) around the world: A play on words mean­ing “by the way” or “a thought,” A kra is now tak­ing on a new mean­ing as monthly sa­lon-style events, fea­tur­ing pre­sen­ta­tions on just about any Arab re­lated topic.

A few years ago, Muhanna, who then lived in New York, re­al­ized that his in­ter­ac­tions with other Arabs came in two forms: wed­dings and other cel­e­bra­tory events, or po­lit­i­cally-driven gath­er­ings, like protests and lec­tures. Feel­ing as though no one talks about the re­gion’s rich cul­ture and fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries, he wanted to do some­thing di er­ent within his own cir­cle. On a Brook­lyn roo op in Septem­ber 2014, he gave a talk to a few friends on a topic re­lated to the Arab world. They en­joyed it so much that they voted to make it a reg­u­lar thing.

Muhanna made sure the gath­er­ings were ex­plic­itly non po­lit­i­cal, and not par­ties, cre­at­ing a new in­tel­lec­tual space for en­cour­ag­ing cu­rios­ity for its own sake, where in­quis­i­tive minds could ex­plore a col­lec­tive stream of ques­tions about the Arab world. With the help of other team mem­bers, A kra slowly took shape, bring­ing fas­ci­nat­ing sub­jects to light, cul­ti­vat­ing gen­uine cu­rios­ity, and cre­at­ing a sense of com­mu­nity. “We’re ask­ing, and try­ing to an­swer, in­ter­est­ing ques­tions, with­out try­ing to con­vince any­one of any­thing,” Muhanna says.

Within its rst year, A kra our­ished beyond ex-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lebanon

© PressReader. All rights reserved.