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Resilience: ODSA'21 Closing Ceremony

Under the soft sun rays that caressed my face, I watched as the Country Director, Akaba James, dressed in his beautiful traditional regalia, gave his last words of encouragement: hard work, consistency, perseverance, resilience. All around me, thunderous applause erupted and I found myself clapping along with my comrades, although my heart was loaded with sadness as I realized that this would be the last clapping session of the Open Dreams Summer Academy 2021.

Closing Ceremony - ODSA2021

"These six weeks have been life-changing for us." had said the spokesperson for the 2021 cohort of pre-scholars at the beginning of the ceremony. We were honored to have in our midst, representatives of the Tunisian Embassy and the Ministry of Youth Affairs

respectively. We were inspired by their presence and motivated by their words of

encouragement. We had the opportunity to present the Hackathon projects we had worked on while displaying the leadership, teamwork, and public speaking skills that our facilitators had instilled in us throughout the summer academy. Fun was at the rendezvous as we sang to the rhythm of the guitar and danced like no one was watching. We equally exercised our favorite sport: taking pictures to immortalize those mind-blowing moments.

Summer Academy sessions - Polymath with Mathew Lee, Global Affairs with Prince Forghab

The presentation of the certificates was just the icingp on the cake. I remember walking up to the stage after my name was called, a broad smile on my face and tears of joy blurring my vision as I received my certificate from Moumie Mohamed, one of the scholars who went out of the way for the Summer Academy to be a success - and honestly, it really was. The pre-scholars did not fail to show their gratitude through various works of art, special acknowledgment certificates and refreshment which was prepared for the occasion.

Moments at the summer academy: Tumanjong Harris from Science Po, France, Isaac Georges Ndjiongang (now in Germany), Ngolefac Emmanuel, Regional Co-ordinato for the West and Dr. Lem Ngongalah (from the UK) of CORE Africa

The ceremony was successful, beautiful, and colorful. Words are not enough to express our gratitude towards Akaba James - who received the golden heart award -, our facilitators, the scholars, as well as every single person who contributed to the success of this event and that of the summer academy as a whole. Parting with these wonderful people with whom we spent the previous 6 weeks was the hardest part. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing, especially when the time spent together was worth it. But as the President of the Cameroon Fulbright TEA Alumni, Nteta Philip, rightly said; the graduation ceremony is not the end, but the beginning of a beautiful journey, and we, the newly graduated scholars, are ready for this adventure. After all, it is not for nothing that we have been dubbed the "Batch of Resilience".

- Written by Nna Winnie Vallonia'21

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