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International Women’s Day Celebrated at College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS)

From left to right: Ms. Tsigereda Wolde Gergsh; Saba Haile, Firt Lady and Ms. Luul Gebreab, former President of NUEW. NUEW is an independent organization that has been promoting  gender equality in Eritrea and empowering Eritrean women for nearly four decades. 

International Women’s Day Celebrated at College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS)
By Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th at the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), located in the southern town of Adi Keih. First commemorated by the United Nations (UN) on March 8th during the International Women’s Year of 1975, the day represents an important opportunity for individuals, communities, and countries to celebrate the progress, great achievements, and contributions of women, raise and confront difficult questions and challenges, build broad support for women’s rights, and work towards the full and equal participation of women within all areas of society.

The lively program at CASS, organized by student’s groups and the college’s PFDJ Office, featured a wide variety of events, including music in several Eritrean languages, a picture slideshow, short games, poetry readings, a general knowledge competition, and a traditional coffee ceremony with sweets and light refreshments, including himbasha. As well, the college’s female staff were recognized and honored for their pivotal contributions to the school community.

According to Mr. Simon Weldemichael, CASS PFDJ Office representative and one of the event’s organizers, the event was highly important because, “it provides us an opportunity to recognize the monumental contributions of females to our society...[and] it will help plant and spread awareness amongst the youth.” This sentiment was shared by many of the event’s participants and attendees. In a passionate and touching presentation on gender equality in Eritrea, Ms. Selam Kiflemariam, a third-year English student and member of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), pointed out that, “although our society has made much progress [in regard to equality], we can still improve and move forward...especially within rural areas.” During her brief presentation, marked by loud, piercing laudatory whistles and enthusiastic applause of approval, Ms. Selam, who also harbours ambitions of continuing her education and eventually working as a relationship or family counsellor, suggested that, “women should be appreciated, supported, and encouraged...we should empower them and hear their voice. Inequality is a societal problem, and it will take the entire society, working together, to fix it.”

One of the program’s great highlights was the presentation of special certificates of distinction to several of the college’s top-achieving female students. With GPA’s impressively reaching or hovering at 4.0, Ms. Adiam Habte (third-year Political Science and International Relations), Ms. Mical Philipos (second-year Political Science and International Relations), and Ms. Sinit Solomon Tsahaye (fourth-year English) were awarded the special certificates by Mr. Tecleab Mussiel, the CASS Director of Student Affairs.

Speaking about the young students’ accomplishments, Mr. Romodan Ahmedin Mohammed, PFDJ CASS Office representative and one of the event’s organizers, stated that, “these young women are outstanding students and people. They are a tremendous credit and fine testament to their families, communities, and the nation. These awards not only show appreciation for their efforts, they also serve to inspire and motivate others.” Notably, while Eritrean women have historically faced considerable challenges in regard to accessing education, female participation in education has significantly increased across all levels since independence in 1991.

Ms. Adiam, who plans to go onto graduate school, expressed happiness and honor at receiving the award, stating, “this award is the fruit of a lot of hard work and discipline. It feels great and it’s an amazing honor to be recognized.” She went on to underscore the importance of women in society, noting that, “we should remember that women are so significant within all aspects of society, and we should encourage them.” Ms. Philipos, boasting a perfect 4.0 GPA, noted the special significance of receiving the award on International Women’s Day, stating, “women have inner and outer strength. Eritrean women have such a special, unparalleled history, and we should cherish that.” She added, “we have a responsibility to make our mother’s proud and follow in their continue their legacy.”

Generally, the program was well-received – from staff and students of CASS to people from the surrounding small town of Adi Keih, including members of the local NUEW branch and the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS). During his closing remarks, Mr. Tecleab expressed pride and admiration of the event, commenting, “this [event] is a positive starting point. It’s so wonderful to see the academic and wider community come together to celebrate such an important day. Let us continue to work to encourage equality and make these types of campaigns bigger and better moving forward.”

The College of Arts and Social Sciences, currently within its sixth academic year, has an annual enrolment of approximately 1500 students, nearly evenly split between males and females. Located near several significant traditional and historical sites, the school has ten total academic departments, nine of which award degrees while one awards diplomas. Furthermore, the college also boasts a traditional and digital library, bookstore, staff and student cafeterias, recreation lounge featuring satellite television and games, all-weather outdoor sports courts, intercollegiate athletic teams, and various student clubs.

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International Women’s Day Celebrated at College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) Reviewed by Admin on 9:57 AM Rating: 5

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