With the Student Union presidential elections are approaching soon, it is very constructive for us to reflect on the experience that the AUC student government went through last semester when a referendum on the Student Union president took place in December, as decided by the Student Senate and the Student Judicial Board. This was the first referendum held since the current General Assembly constitution was amended in 2004. Indeed it was the first time in the history of the student government to have such a leadership change in the SU by the mechanisms built into the student governance structure. However, we must not deny or forget the effective role that was played by Hesham Shafick and his team, who affected student activities positively and enhanced student collectivness.
Hesham Shafick was a true believer in student democracy; he fully supported the referendum, and courageously endorsed it, rather than simply resigning from his position. He did not care if he won or lost, and because of his courage AUC students had the chance to participate in the referendum and to voice their opinion. Did we ever think whether Shafick was really guilty or innocent? Many think he is innocent, and others believe he was not. As a matter of fact, campaigning in the AUC elections had been based just on friendship, so I would highly encourage you to think before choosing your representative, and don’t just base your vote on friendships and personal relationships.
Back to Mr. Shafick, the example that we had at AUC could also be applicable to the real world, and not just AUC student government. This exercise is a milestone towards an effective student governance structure that has checks and balances with well-coordinated legislative, judicial and executive branches. I have hope that our student leaders will take this experience further to fully develop a model that we want all newly-liberated student unions in Egypt now to emulate. Hence, just as much as I say the leaders of the senate and SJB were key players in the process whether we agree with them or not, we must not forget to praise Shafick for his patience, commitment, dedication and courage. We should not forget that although he did not get enough time to do all he hoped to accomplish, yet many of the ideas being implemented now were actually made and formulated within Shafick’s session.
Through my own experience dealing and working with Shafick, I was able to feel his commitment towards fulfilling his vision of creating a collective General Assembly as he promised, in addition to his eagerness to fight for each and every single student or organization’s rights. He was always able to choose his battles wisely; however sometimes he was misunderstood and his actions were misinterpreted.
Hesham Shafick, thank you, and I want you to graduate knowing that you are unforgettable student leader who deserves to be proud of his accomplishments throughout his studies at AUC. It was an honor to work with you and your team throughout your session, despite its length.
Mohamed Dabbour is Associate Dean & Director Student Development