On the left below please find an article from CPNN, and on the right its discussion.
Please note that links to the discussion no longer work directly.
Instead, Use the following address
where xxx is the topic number in the failed address obtained when you click on the discussion.
If this doesn't work, click here.

Learn Write Read Home About Us Discuss Search Subscribe Contact
by program area
by region
by category
by recency
United Nations and Culture of Peace
Global Movement for a Culture of Peace
Values, Attitudes, Actions
Rules of the Game
Submit an Article
Become a CPNN Reporter

Youth of MENA [Middle East and North Africa] refuse to step down despite setbacks
an article by Aisha Habli for Common Ground News Service

The glow of the Arab Spring wore off in the media a while ago. Violence, internal division and widespread frustration have replaced the hopeful scenes of youth standing up to demand change. But have youth really stepped back from the frontlines of such change? I followed up with my peers, co- participants at an Arab Youth Leadership workshop earlier this year, to find out.

click on photo to enlarge

I first checked in with Marouane Bakit, a social activist in Libya and co-founder of a project, Sonaah Al Amal (Makers of Hope), which brings together youth of different races and ethnicities to discuss and engage in post-Arab Spring development. They are buoyed to continue their work due to the impact of some of their early results.

At the end of 2012, in post-war Libya, Marouane and a small team of youth visited the refugee camps in their city, Tripoli, to which hundreds of families have sought refuge from Bani Walid, Sirte, Tawergha and Misrata that were badly affected during the war. Marouane’s team was inspired to change the terrible conditions they observed – people were drinking seawater and kids were sleeping on the ground, with no shelter in cold weather.

They reported their findings to government authorities, who responded by relocating about 300 people who were living in the worst conditions to places with better living conditions, and later investigated the refugee camps in Tripoli. . .

In Palestine, social activist Ohood Murqaten describes how many youth initiatives have been active in calling for national dialogue around the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. She mentions her involvement in The YaLa Young Leaders Online Academy (YLO@), a year-long educational program that teaches critical skills, empowers youth and serves as a communication platform for young leaders from the region. “For many this is the first time Arabs, Palestinians, and Israelis are getting together and studying and becoming friends. For many of the Israeli participants, this is the first opportunity they have had to sit and talk and listen to Palestinians and Arabs, and to learn that we have ideas, languages and creativity, and are educated,” . . .

Like Marouane and Ohood, other youth in the MENA region remain engaged, advocating for dialogue and youth engagement. Bassam Ghaber, an organiser at the Yemen Elections Monitoring Network (YEMN) mentioned that youth-led organizations have been working to promote a culture of comprehensive national dialogue and raising awareness on the importance of civil participation in their communities. And Najwa Uheba, another Libyan participant and activist, shares how youth initiatives in her country are tailored to critical current events. “Several youth initiatives advocate for nonviolent expression, particularly in demonstrations and protests,” says Najwa. . . .

Nonetheless, MENA youth are resilient and remain determined to be agents of positive change. Despite the frustration and the challenges, they have refused to give up, or to sit passively on the sidelines. We have a big role in carrying our communities forward even when the older generations may have grown tired, and we will continue to create positive change.


Question(s) related to this article:

The Arab spring of 2011, Can it inspire democratic movements around the world?

* * * * *


The following is reprinted from Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 30 August 2011,
Copyright permission is granted for publication.

Cultures of peace, lasting change in Egypt?
Joseph Mayton

Cairo - Instead of falling victim to Egypt’s eye-for-an-eye past, a concerted effort to create a culture of peace in what has quickly become a starkly fractured political scene – between religious groups, the military and activists, and activists and the people – may well be the best opportunity to bring about a new Egypt with social justice, transparency and tolerance.

Egyptians are striving daily to show the world that societies can change. Cairo is not the same city it was six months ago. As voices now begin to breech the political and social stalemate in the country, Egyptian society can, through a culture of peace, set a precedent not only for their own country but for the whole region.

UNESCO defines the culture of peace as “a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue”. In Egypt, for example, this could help develop an overall sense that the "other", who participated in violent acts in the past, can become part of society, instead of remaining on the outskirts as they are currently. Building such a culture in Egypt would follow the South African model of reconciliation, which allowed the country to look forward instead of focusing on the frustrating and sad past of apartheid.

Instilling a culture of peace in the younger generation could be a great antidote to the older generations’ mistrust and antagonism toward one another – Christian versus Muslim; Worker versus Owner; Military versus the People; and so on.

In Egypt, one of the root causes of a lack of a culture of peace is the educational system. Young Egyptian students are taught that they are different from one another, that their respective faiths are cause for separation. In schools, Christian students study the history and faith of Christianity separately, while Muslim studentsdo the same for Islam. This creates a sense that each group is separate and divided when it comes to any national cause. . ...more.

This report was posted on January 30, 2014.