Master in Middle Eastern Studies
"Honorable professors, dear guests and fellow students,
After quite a few years spent within the walls of this university, it feels almost unbelievable to be here, giving a speech during my Master's graduation ceremony.
Choosing to focus ones' studies on the Middle East, as my fellow colleagues and me chose to do by applying for this Master, is not a mainstream decision.
My first approach towards the Middle East was through the study of Arabic language and culture. I was 18 back then and I remember I felt extremely fascinated yet really scared of making such a choice. When, soon after that, the curiosity I had felt towards that world started to become a passion, the reason why I traveled and relentlessly wished to discover new realities, I decided that I wanted my future academic and professional career to be as closely linked as possible with the Middle East. Hence, it was natural to be excited when virtually bumping into the leaflet of the Master in Middle Eastern Studies offered by ASERI.
Throughout this program, we got the chance to come into closer touch with all the constituencies and facets of this wide region, trying to draw a line to connect all the several realities it is composed of, yet also learning to make fundamental distinctions and to appreciate its countless peculiarities. It was a tiring journey, which required us to be constantly receptive and made us feel challenged from several points of view and perspectives.
At the end of this path, I think the aspect of the course that I appreciated the most- the one I remember more dearly and I will certainly miss- was the amazing opportunity to be lectured by experts coming not only from very different geographical, but also professional backgrounds. We met many professors and academics coming from all over the world, together with diplomats, journalists, personnel working in International Organizations, business experts…all of them provided us with a new perspective and invited us to reconsider what we thought we had learnt so far. I could see the enthusiasm and the involvement in the eyes of many among them when they told us about their direct experiences in Middle Eastern countries. Their words guided us in the discovery and exploration of this region, and were also fundamental to foster our interest and to give a clearer face to our hopes and expectations.
In the end, I can say the master I am today completing certainly left me two intertwined souvenirs: a wider and deeper knowledge and understanding of the Middle East, together with the awareness of how dealing with this complicated and ever changing context requires that constant commitment and dedication many lecturers further inspired us throughout the course.
When an experience comes to an end it is a good and due custom to thank those people who helped to make it happen and to let it go in the smoothest, best way possible. Hence, I would like to thank our program assistant Dott.ssa Annalisa Pinchetti for her constant and precious support, and for having promptly and helpfully replied to my countless mails and questions throughout the last year, even when I was abroad and during the summer. I would also like to thank all our professors, especially the eclectic director of this Master, Professor Riccardo Redaelli, and my thesis' supervisor Dott. Andrea Plebani, whose enthusiasm really motivated me to make the best out of my exams and my research project about Iraq. Finally, a big thanks goes to my family and friends, who believe in me way more than I do. Thank you, even because you always manage to bring me back to reality every time I overreact.
Dear classmates, our journey here is over; when I think about us, I can't help laughing while recalling that time almost all of us went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for a half Italian half Indian dinner and all the customers and staff were surprised to see a group of ten young people visibly coming from all over the world arguing in English about which taste of ice-cream to choose or whether to buy pasta or spaghetti!! I am more than glad to have had the chance to meet people coming from all over the planet yet sharing my same interests and passions.
I wish all of you a bright, successful but above all happy future and I hope you will get where you want, wherever that place is.
Mabrouk and thank you!!"
Lorena Stella Martini