Introducing 'SWANA': a new society

By Aliye Osman

“The society for the representation of SWANA goes above and beyond other culture-based societies in providing students with a platform for personal and social growth.” She tells us all about it here.

Many of you will only now be hearing the term SWANA, so here is a list of countries that are included:

We share our own remixes of the same foods, our music uses the same or similar instruments, and our cultures are intertwined so much so that our childhood stories can become replicas of the same colourful book. The aim of our society is to uplift, motivate and educate students about the roots of South West & Central Asian and North African countries while breaking the stereotypes placed on us. These countries are rich in history, religion, and traditions that we carry with pride and honour.

We want to celebrate each other and create a safe space for students to connect with their roots with an array of events that anyone-even non-SWANA students- can join!

The pandemic has really hindered our ability to connect. So, this year we will do twice as much and make the most of the time we have together. Ideally, we will be working our way up to organising

  • our first SWANA ball
  • a shisha crawl
  • food and music nights
  • traditional dance nights and much more!

We will actively be seeking suggestions from members to share traditions or events that they would like us to host. This society is more than the surface level of experiencing culture. We stand to break traditional views, dive deep into controversial debates and encourage every member to grow their perspective. The reason that we reject the term ‘middle east’ is because it was coined by colonizers to describe a list of countries that they found on their way to India which they considered east.

The SWANA region has many conflicts which most societies will shy away from- but we believe these conversations are the way forward in breaking the stereotypes and creating a more communicative environment. This term hardly depicts our big family tree of countries, ethnic groups and cultures which is why SWANA provides a more accurate and inclusive summary.

If you are in your third year, this will be your chance to leave university on a high note and make up for what you missed out on. Second years will benefit the most as they have not yet experienced the full university package. And lastly, first years- what better way to start your journey than in a society that will consistently provide you with entertainment and opportunities.

We want everyone to celebrate their roots-regardless of what you call your kebab!

Our email is now open to applications for next years committee! If you love SWANA culture, this is a great opportunity for you to help shape the events we host.

Visit the SWANA Instagram to find out more and apply for a committee role!

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