Afrem Shemunkasho, Bachelor of Science student in Business Administration at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, wants to make a difference in society. Because of that, he is a scholarship holder of the programme “Geh deinen Weg” of Deutschlandstiftung Integration, a foundation for integration initiated by the Association of German Magazine Publishers, since the start of the year. Last September the induction ceremony took place in Berlin. The programme lasts two years for each student. The Bachelor student wants to promote intercultural dialogue – especially in complicated times, says Afrem Shemunkasho, son of an Aramaen family from South Eastern Anatolia.
“Through START-Stiftung, an organisation for highschool students with migrant background, I got to know Deutschlandstiftung Integration which is very similar but for ambitious university students”, says Afrem Shemunkasho. Hence, he applied for the Deutschlandstiftung. A written application as well as a personal interview was required. The programme is not about financial support. It focuses on the personal exchange between the scholarship holders. Moreover, the students get in contact with leading personalities from economy, culture and administration. Furthermore, every participant gets a personal mentor.
“My mentor is Ina Wietheger, Senior Partner at Roland Berger. We meet regularly and I benefit from her personal and professional experience. Moreover, the exchange helps me to extend my professional network”, explains Afrem Shemunkasho.
The main focus of the programme is to be in exchange – to get to know the other scholarship holders who have already experienced and achieved a lot – even at a young age. “It is very interesting to experience how the other members are engaged in society. Through the programme I met people who have already founded their own companies just being 20 years old. We all share the same history and grew up in two different cultures. Therefore, it is easy to inspire each other and to find out how we can create an open dialogue”, emphasises the 22-year old.
Afrem Shemunkasho also experiences that the public debate about immigration has become rougher. In his opinion, media is responsible for this development too. He thinks that many people tend to generalise too fast. “I believe that foundations like this show how integration can work very well and how people with migration backgrounds can actively support an inclusive society. We know both sides very well”, says Shemunkasho.
One important reason for Afrem Shemunkasho to study at Frankfurt School is that the business school stands for internationality. “We mostly speak English at Frankfurt School because the students come from many different countries. Even the building mirrors internationality – the design represents the five continents”, explains the student.
Afrem Shemunkasho advises young people with a migration background to be optimistic and open. “As members of the programme we have to be commited for a dialogue. Often we are asked where our parents come from. Many people are just curious and do not want to insult you. I have even heard that a lot of people are sad about not having a multicultural history”, says Afrem Shemunkasho.