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Society Shoutout

SOAS Afghan Society

The SOAS Afghan Society is a cultural society that seeks to express the plethora of Afghan culture and affairs through the hosting of events. Given the current climate of pandemic, we are still trying to come to terms with hosting events online as we enjoyed a number of in-person group activities at SOAS last year.  

It has been quite a rollercoaster – but we have used it to our advantage! We are now able to host events with an audience from around the world as well as speakers from abroad, including Afghanistan! Zoom has made hosting events such as our recent ones, ‘Press Freedom in Afghanistan’ and ‘Hazara people of Afghanistan’, much easier as we can connect with speakers who are knowledgeable in these fields outside the London area.

In February, we participated in Afghan Charity Week (ACW) for the second time – a student led initiative to raise money for disabled children in Afghanistan. SOAS Afghan Society alone raised £1,214 with the ultimate total with the whole of ACW being £31,114.91. This was an amazing experience for us and are ever so thankful to all the SOAS students who supported us! We enjoyed hosting an auction night in collaboration with the SOAS Painting Society, and our ‘Central and South Asian Cultural Night’ in collaboration with the Iranian and Desi Society to fundraise for ACW was a big hit as well.

We are looking forward to hosting more events over the year – follow us @soasafghansociety to stay updated! 

SOAS Iranian Society 

SOAS has long been a site of academic and cultural discourse for Iranians in London. SOAS’ Iranian Society has been active since October 2010, and is staying active during the pandemic! It’s a student led committee that acts as an open, friendly platform for all things Iran-related. Our society is committed to bringing together those who share an interest in Iran and Iranian culture in an informal and casual network.

The SOAS Iranian Society is devoted to preserving, celebrating and engaging with Iranian culture through discourses and discussions of related academia, art, culture, tradition and history. Global circumstances have changed and we’ve had to adapt as well. Last year, we held casual socials, film screenings, support groups, games nights, book launches, career’s fares and panel discussions, as well as a collaboration with SOAS Radio for a Late Licence event. The lockdown restrictions have made it more difficult to organise and hold events for students but our digital platforms have been very constructive in allowing us to connect with society members as well as other collectives and organisations beyond SOAS’ campus.

We’ve been able to host virtual programmes with notable speakers like Jane Lewishon and Dr Roshanak Bornaki, and feature up and coming artists and musicians from Iran and the wider diaspora. In February, we collaborated with the SOAS Afghan and Desi society to host an amazing line up and we’re excited to be organising something special for Norouz. For more information visit our socials (@soasiransociety) or the SOAS SU website.

SOAS WaterAid Society

SOAS WaterAid is a student-run society at SOAS stemming from WaterAid, a UK charity that aims to transform lives by improving access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene in the world’s poorest communities. As a student division we aim to reproduce the work of our mother organisation by fundraising and raising awareness about access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.

Our most recent event this year was a panel event entitled ‘Getting Into the Charity Sector’ which – despite the virtual event fatigue – ended up being successful with over 180 signups to the event and approximately 100 people who attended the event. Despite this rather successful event, as a society we believe that there has definitely been many struggles with trying to create engaging events during this pandemic; original events that have not been replicated by other societies being especially hard to plan.

That being said we are open to new suggestions so if you have an idea please give us a shout at [email protected] or on our social media @soaswateraid ! 

Photo caption: Naghsh-o-Neshat: Our immersive art evening with Iranian artist Sahar Ghorishi. (Credit: SOAS Iranian Society)

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