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First Economics Association (EA) Policy Competition: Deconstructing Concepts, Identifying Roots Problems and Identifying Innovative Solutions

Dec 19, 2016

The first national policy competition organized by the Economics Association (EA) jointly with University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), and Österreichischer Austauschdienst (OeAD), Vienna took place November 26 to December 3, 2016. 

The competition titled ‘Alternatives to International Monetary Funds (IMF) loans’ attracted over 70 applicants from eight different universities, and aimed to offers room for critical thinking and the possibility to openly discuss and deconstruct ideas and concepts with distinguished experts from various scientific and economic fields.

Nine teams of three began their first round of presentations on November 26 with five groups qualifying to the second two round were the teams had one week to prepare and improve their presentations and concepts after which the finalists were selected. 

The distinguished panel of judges included: Ahmed El Safty, associate professor of practice and Mona Said, chair of department of economics, AUC School of Business who were later joined by Naglaa Nozahi, sub-governor of economic research at the Central Bank of Egypt in the second round. 
 “Choosing the top three was very difficult. The range was very small, the teams very competitive and well organized,” Said stated.
 The winning AUC team, Nariman Emara, Shatha Hussein and Yousef Labana, received a monetary reward of EGP 6000 and a partial scholarship to three to five weeks Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems (AEMS) in Vienna. The program will cover global economic issues such as money creation, Washington consensus, climate change and renewable energy. 
“What I liked the most was that we got to take an extremely different stance with regards to the government,” Labana expressed. “Thinking of something completely unrelated to the IMF was very challenging,” he added.
The Cairo University team came in second place receiving an internship at The Ministry of International Cooperation while second AUC team came in third place, including Youssef Kassem, Farah Kaddah and Nashwa Shabaan, were granted internships at Delta Research Center.

“I’m so happy to see these young people full of hope, the way they are thinking, their self-confidence,” Said stated. “Participants really thought out of the box, they tried to find the root of the problem and find novel solutions, it was an amazing experience.”