Afikra unities a curious community
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-