KEMSA Conference 2017

From Kewtin to Serkewtin

Project report 2017

The NGO KEMSA (Kurdish European Medical Student Association) started working with an educational program last year which included videos and articles on their webpage to increase awareness on the link between health and culture. The educational program was pushed a notch further when the idea of a conference came up. Through this, the organization aimed at reaching the audience in a direct manner and gather data on how to work better on the educational program.


In March 2017, the Vice President Bano Abdul-Rahman discussed the idea of a multi-educational conference in Kurdistan Bashur (Iraq) with the other members. The idea was perceived with great interest from five other members. Later, a group of KEMSA members from Norway as well as Kurdistan joined in on the project to help prepare the conference.

It was decided to be held in Kurdistan Bashur due to safety causes, but also because of the network of members there. Due to the schedule of the members, it was decided that the conference was to be held in July.


The purpose of the conference was to bring light on different topics that the young generation of students can make use of. The target group was students, no matter major. The topics of the presentations were chosen by each speaker and presented during several meetings later on. The term success in Kurdish is serkewtin, which literally means to overcome a fall (kewtin), and thus the members decided to come up with the title “From Kewtin to Serkewtin” as a playful twist on the term success.

Date: 02/07/17 – 09/07/17
Project leader: Bano Abdul-Rahman

KEMSA Bashur 2017 Logo
The event logo

The Speakers


Bano Abdul-Rahman, topic title “s being lazy the reason to the problems in our society?"


A sixth year medical student currently studying in Denmark. Bano is the project leader and has been a member of KEMSA since 2015. Has previously participated in the 2016 humanitarian aid project in Kurdistan. The topic of her presentation was reflection and how it affects the development of a community.


Deman Najar, topic title “A class in research”


Currently a PhD student and a graduate of medical school in Sweden, who joined KEMSA in 2016. This is Deman´s first project with KEMSA. Since Deman is working on his PhD, he choose a topic about research its importance, and how to engage students to pursue a career in research.


Dilava Bingöl, topic title “Gender equality during childhood”

Is a founder of KEMSA since 2012 and a medical student at her sixth year in Hungary. Dilava has previously joined a 2014 humanitarian aid project for Kobane. The topic of gender equality and how raising a child in such a community would be beneficial, was her choice of topic for the conference.


Midia Mohammed Amin, topic title “how to live in the present - the art of now”


A sixth year medical student in Denmark, and a KEMSA member since 2013. Midia has previously studied parts of her medical school in Latvia, and thus joined in on several local KEMSA events there. When deciding on a topic for the conference, she choose to talk about how the technology around us prevent us from enjoying the important moments in our everyday life.


Shayan Shaly, topic titles “Unexpressed emotions are painful. Dissolve the stigma for healthier minds” and “Emotional intelligence: the power of emotional sensitivity”


A newly graduated doctor who lived in Dubai. Shayan first met KEMSA in 2016 as she joined the medical aid program in Kurdistan through a relative who was active in KEMSA. After some personal encounters with mental diseases, Shayan decided to speak about how the community views ,- as well as should view emotional individuals and their struggle.


Simko Sama, topic title “when medicine becomes poison”


Is a pharmacist, lecturer and a PhD – student who joined KEMSA in 2016. This is Simko´s first project in Kurdistan with KEMSA. Because of experience as a pharmacist and knowing how the Kurdish community perceives medication, the topic of drug misuse interested him. Simko wanted to spread awareness, as well as solve the issue of drug overuse in the Kurdish society.

KEMSA Bashur 2017
Deman Najar (Hewler)
KEMSA Bashur 2017
Midia M.-Amin (Hewler)
KEMSA Bashur 2017
Ranj M. Najm & Dilava Bingöl (Hewler)
KEMSA Bashur 2017
Shayan Shaly (Hewler)

The Conference in Suleymaniah


The conference in Suleymaniah was held 06/07/2017 at the medical faculty of the University of Suleymaniah. The choice for the hall was due to KEMSA establishing cooperation with the University since 2016. The University of Suleymaniah booked a hall for the conference and aided the group with sound system and equipment for the catering.

A coordinated group of students and KEMSA members helped preparing the conference hall, catering and the registration of the guests.

The conference was set to start from 4 pm to 8 pm. Aside from presentations and coffee break, the conference also included a mini concert performed by local friends of the members.


Number of attendants: 92 Attendees


Volunteers of the Conference in Suleymaniah


The group of volunteers helping in preparing for the conference was coordinated by Dilava Bingöl.


Three KEMSA members from Norway - Kasha Mangory, Lavin Yadgar Ali and Kejan Saed made waffles, and helped with both registration and catering.


Other volunteers: Ranj M. Najm,  Hevar Bahadean, Ali Omer, Danar Ali, Aras Umer, Aram Shah Mohammed, Rawa Mahmoud.

KEMSA Bashur 2017
After the Slemanî event

The Conference in Erbil


The conference in Erbil was held 09/07/2017 at the European Techonology Training Centre (ETTC).  Both the hall and the catering were sponsorored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). All equipment and sound system during the conferences were also provided. The conference in Erbil started from 4 pm to 8 pm. The conference this time included guest appearances such as Mr. Erbil instead of a concert. The group told their story of struggle and success as young minds living in Kurdistan. Cambridge School sponsored the filming of the conference in Erbil.

KEMSA Bashur 2017
During the Hewler event
KEMSA Bashur 2017
After the Hewler event

The Sponsors


There were two main sponsors for the KEMSA event.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ): Last year, after the Bashur aid project in Kurdistan ended, Bano got in contact with the German consul Lars Kettner at the airport and discussed the possibility of a project in 2017. Through Mr. Kettner, the sponsorship of the GIZ was established. GIZ sponsored the whole event in Erbil including the conference hall, equipment and catering as well as the expenses of the catering in Suleymaniah.


The Cambridge School sponsored the housing and the transportation of the members in both cities during the preparation time for the conference. The main connection to Cambridge School was the speaker Deman Najar. The sponsorship included an apartment at Pasha City in Suleymaniah from the period 02-07/07, and four rooms at the Dedeman Hotel in Erbil from 08-10/07.

GIZ Logo KEMSA Bashur
KEMSA Sponsor #1
KEMSA Location in Hewler
KEMSA Bashur 2017
KEMSA Sponsor #2



The Outcome


Attendant number and what was expected

The number of attendants registered in Suleymaniah was 163 and in Erbil was 103. Of the registered attendants, 92 attended at the conference in Suleymaniah and 46 at the conference in Erbil.

The members choose a certain time of the year (summer) which was the time most students were on vacation. According to students in Kurdistan, few attends conferences if not during school hours. Another explanation could also be the short time of promotion for the event, the location and finally, time of the day chosen for the conference to be held. Students at the conference also mentioned that in Kurdistan, they go to conferences earlier during the day.


The feedback from the audience

The audience in both cities perceived the topics in a positive way. Students felt they were heard and supported by Kurdish students living outside of their own country. Many students felt they were having a good time talking to the speakers and organizers of the conference. Overall, many were motivated and interested in such conferences.


Another way to assess the audience's view of the conference, was through our write-it poster "tell us you thoughts". The audience were able to draw or write their opinions about the conference, the speakers, the topics and even their own opinions about other things. We added a "hashtag serkewtin" for them to spread their thoughts on the conference on social media.


The feedback from the speakers

The speakers felt their message reached the audience especially after mingling a lot with the audience during the event. There was however one problem - they were both organizers and speakers of the conference. The event was huge compared to the time the speakers had to prepare and organize.


Odense 27th of July 2017