Cover Image

Image courtesy of

NYUAD Alumni Launch

Alia ElKattan and Lujain Ibrahim launch an online curation of articles discussing global issues through the lens of the internet and its impacts on society.

Aug 30, 2020

On Aug. 18, NYU Abu Dhabi alumnae Alia ElKattan and Lujain Ibrahim, class of 2020, launched their website,, a curation of articles by the creators and a team of six writers on the impact of the internet on multiple aspects of our lives.
The initial idea of creating a platform to discuss the digital space and its impacts from a diverse set of perspectives came to Ibrahim, who reached out to ElKattan in December last year. She realized that “young people are not well represented in these conversations in whatever work is put on the internet about technological space in society.”
After months of reaching out to and working with NYUAD students and alumni, the duo launched their website through the personal narrative of authors discussing the ways in which the internet impacted their lives and the societies they live in. The articles, ranging from topics such as the climate action movement to [food monopoly in South Korea] (, take a “critical yet forward-looking perspective, rather than a technophobic, utopic or counter-productive one, by trying to discuss solutions and ways forward without trivializing complex issues,” as described in their inaugural Letter from the Editors.
“Taking a slightly brighter tone wasn't despite [the problems we are dealing with] but because of it,” said ElKattan. “There are so many problems in the world and so many problems we individually are dealing with. . . .We don't want Multiplicity to be a list of problems,” she added.
ElKattan emphasized the purpose of the platform was not just to talk about problems and solutions, but to provide alternative ways for people to better understand these issues and find out ways to make things “slightly better”. She suggested that “it may be hard to pretend that things are fine but that's never going to be our goal. We want to give people the problems but give them ways to deal with it.”
Ibrahim focused on the purpose of the platform being on “incremental change” which “can mean showing someone a new perspective on a topic on something they haven't heard of before.” Citing an example from an article on digital privacy in European post-communist democracies, Ibrahim explained “how looking at how things can work in a [different] context can teach us how to make things better in our context or reconsider things in our context.”
She mentions that each article is accompanied by a reading list, with hopes of “sending people somewhere” from the article. “They can either learn more [from these lists] or change [what they discover] into something actionable. . . That’s worth it, that’s the point.”
The duo also addressed the burgeoning digital divide and the multiple aspects that impact it, be it gender, geography, income or nationality. Ibrahim stated that while they were exposed to this issue before, the Covid-19 pandemic presented an “interesting time for multiplicity to launch.”
Ibrahim suggested that it highlighted “the many ways that inequalities in our lives [and] discriminatory practices enter the digital realm seamlessly.” Addressing the persisting gaps in digital space, ElKattan added: “Oftentimes people who really talk about building better internet and focusing on internet diversity . . . are people in niche internet communities. . . We were never in these communities or were exposed to it . . . The goal was to discuss the influence of the internet on our lives from a lot of different perspectives and you can not really talk about the internet as a universal oxygen that everybody has. We definitely wanted to talk about what it is like to not have internet access.”
“Initially, we thought it would be a one time thing . . . but we are having second thoughts,” said Ibrahim, overwhelmed by the positive response from the community. The team plans on evaluating the public response to their project and is planning ways to take it forward in a “more sustainable way.”
Aayusha Shrestha is News Editor. Email her at
gazelle logo