AUD student Maha Moussa won US State Department video competition to combat extremism last Monday following her submission of an original video, according to AUD Professor Yasmine Bahrani.
Maha Moussa, a sophomore student that majors in Arabic Track Digital Production and Storytelling at Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication received a prize last Monday for her submission of a 30 to 60-second public service announcement video on countering extremist ideology.
The video award project was created by the US State Department in collaboration with the UAE government last month with aims to engage youth in combating extremist ideology, as announced by Associate Dean of the communication school Dr. Carol Moufarrej in an email sent to MBRSC students on October 4th.
“The reason we wanted to do this competition was to support young people who want to explore creative ways to tell stories and use social media to speak out against violent extremism,” said Nathaniel Tek, Arabic Language Deputy Spokesperson of the US Department of State.
The video competition was announced by a representative team that visited AUD on the 5th of October. More than a month later, the winner was chosen.
“They emailed me that they were going to come and give me my prize,” said Maha. “They came to the university to the conference room and they gave me my prize and told me how amazing the video is and they thanked me. All the faculty was there.”
The prizes that Maha received were an iPad Air along with what is called a Studio in a Box, a special kit created by an American company for aspiring filmmakers. The box allows them to create a studio in any location, and its contents include a set of green screens, lighting equipment, neck mics, and filmmaking software.
“I did not expect to win. I did it because this is my passion. Extremism is a very important issue and we have to work on it to promote peace,” said Maha.
Maha’s film depicted two young girls sitting on an outdoor wooden bench, one donning a veil and the other wearing a rosary around her neck. Once noticing each other’s differing religions, the two girls expressed discomfort and begin to move away from each other, causing both to fall off the bench as they reached its opposite ends. The short video concluded with a quote expressing the consequences of extremism.
“We found her video to be very creative and compelling, and it was a very eloquent way of expressing the ideas that she wanted to get across and we thought that the production quality was excellent and the message itself was very powerful,” said Nathaniel Tek.