Welcome to Foresight For Development

Sana Afouaiz

Futurist Profile

 

Sana Afouaiz

Student, women advocate activist, trainer in the field of climate change and women’s rights, journalist and blogger.

Regional Coordinator: Moroccan Youth Climate Movement
Correspondent: Voice of Women Initiative
Member and Journalist: World Pulse

Education:
Ecole des Sciences d’Information (Communication studies)

Sana answered a few questions about her perspective and on being a futures thinker.

ABOUT YOU AS A FUTURES THINKER / PRACTITIONER

You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

As an African woman, my focus is to make a positive change on the continent. I do that by mentoring young people from the region through social media and via publishing articles about African matters with a focus on future development on economic, social and political levels. I strive to include the African youth in the decision-making process, as I believe that nothing will successfully happen in Africa without youth - “Nothing about Youth without Youth”.

I confront the social injustice against women in the region as well as globally, by ensuring the importance of providing equal rights and opportunities, because every African woman has the right to take part in the development of her community.

Meanwhile, I work with the civil society organizations on a national and international level for social development. Through these organizations I train and educate younger generations to become responsible, effective and active citizens committed to democratic principles.

Also, I am the voice for African youth through my representation in international conferences.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Three years

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

United States, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Greece.

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

English, Arabic, French and Tamazight.

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

I’m passionate about development, and I want to spread my voice as an African to build a better Africa. I deeply seek for a positive change in the region. I want to contribute in an optimistic future of a rich continent; I want to advocate and bring awareness to Africans about the importance of thinking about how the past and present influence the future of Africa.

To live more sustainably, Africans need to understand the process by which the solutions of the past can influence the problems of today. They need to foresee new innovative solutions based on experiences of the past.

I am motivated by a deep ambition to invest in the potential consequences, both positive and negative, of human activity, and use it to achieve a sustainable future of Africa.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

I would like to inspire Africans though my work, push them to get involved and change their ways. I want to collaborate in a better future for Africa, by making a positive impact on the African society and confronting the social injustice in the region.

I would like to see Africans eager for change, educated, competent and well informed, joining such projects by enhancing their voices.

I want to help create a wide network of African futures thinkers and practitioners, all working together for a brighter Africa.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

Nelson Mandela is my model and has most influenced my thinking as a person who rose from political prisoner to become South Africa’s first Black president. An icon of racial resolution, he showed to the world that everything is possible.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

Communication studies, leadership and international relations

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… Different

I describe myself as… Challenging

 

YOUR PERSPECTIVE

What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended” - Nelson Mandela

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

I would describe the situation of African futures thinking as a promising emerging phase in Africa, in the absence of political and institutional support. Though, there is a serious need for the discipline in the educational institutions, in order to advance.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

I believe the main barrier is the lack of political and institutional investment. On the other hand, there is ignorance in the provisional thinking in the region. Also, there is a traditional following methodology and lack of education which makes the advancement of futures knowledge sluggish.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Africa is in need, more than ever, for critical and future thinkers; Africa is in need to transformational change. This wouldn’t happen without educated and open-minded African youth.

I would say, be the shape for African thinking, make a bright history of Africa and read as much as you can, and develop the imaginary vision.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Reclaiming the Future: A manual on Futures Studies for African Planners - UNDP
Long walk to freedom - Nelson Mandela

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

 

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