On August 1, the University community sat as one to watch a documentary set in post-Saddam Iraq. The convergence of the staff at the library auditorium was at the behest of President Dawn Dekle, who once headed the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS).
Entitled “Salaam Dunk,” the documentary is about the women’s basketball team at AUIS. The community viewing was Dekle’s third outing with people since she the AUN presidency on July 1.
The very inspirational video shows how Ryan Bubalo, an English language teacher, gave the “gift of his time” to coach an all-girl team. He had the girls transformed by the one-year experience.
The film was set during a difficult time in Iraq and one could see the role of sports in academia in developing teamwork skills and lifelong friendships among the girls. Their passion for the game, their joys for success, and their struggles to be more successful are themes throughout the 78-minute documentary.
A favorite of President Dekle's, the movie can relate to Nigeria. Dekle said the show has a message: that sport can unite a diversified group such as Nigeria just as it did not matter to the girls what ethnic or religious group they belonged.
Assistant VP HR & Planning, Nourah Bamalli, said the movie has something AUN can learn, instancing the leadership quality of Coach Ryan.
For Mary Igbazua, an alumna and staff member, she could see from the documentary that success in life it is not solely about winning but also attaining other life virtues.
Abdullahi Bello, the Director of Residence Life who also coordinates AUN’s athletics program said the documentary shares a similarity with the Peace Through Sports program of the University, which was developed in partnership with the Adamawa Peacemakers Initiative.
“Initially we thought it was just sport but eventually we could sense how something small can go a long way in improving relationships and motivating students to want to do more academically.”
According to Wikipedia, the documentary has won no less than four awards.
By Omorogbe Omorogiuwa