Listening to what the young have to say
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Listening to what the young have to say

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EU Youth programmes build bridges over the Mediterranean. Raed Ghareeb, from Amman, Jordan, became an instructor in conflict resolution after joining a Euro- Med Programme, and today he has ...

EU Youth programmes build bridges over the Mediterranean. Raed Ghareeb, from Amman, Jordan, became an instructor in conflict resolution after joining a Euro- Med Programme, and today he has established an NGO focusing on youth needs. Every year, thousands of young people from both shores of the Mediterranean meet and learn from each other. The network they build is our hope for the future of Euro-Mediterranean relations.

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Listening to what the young have to say Listening to what the young have to say Document Transcript

  • YOUTH > JordanListening to what theyoung have to sayn Participants at the EU fundedYouth ProgramEU Youth programmes build www.enpi-info.eubridges over the Mediterranean.Raed Ghareeb, from Amman, Jordan, became an instructorin conflict resolution after joining a Euro- Med Programme, and today he hasestablished an NGO focusing on youth needs. Every year, thousands of youngpeople from both shores of the Mediterranean meet and learn fromeach other. The network they build is our hope for the future of Euro-Mediterranean relations.Text by: Mohammad Ben Husseinphotos by: Al Hayat Centre, Mohammad Ben HusseinAMMAN - “There are so many countries in Europe that suffered from decades of unrest due to social and religious differ-ences, before making Europe what it is today. There is a chance to learn from them, and we must grab it.”Through the window of his office, in Western Amman, Raed Ghareeb – an old participant in a Euro-Med Youth ExchangeProgramme and a youth activist – sees a future where young fellow countrymen take a leading role in helping steer Jordan through a myriad of political and economic challenges. Ghareeb has established an NGO calledThis publication does “Bouthour” (seeds) focused on young men: “ I noticed the absence of programmes to absorb universitynot represent the students,” he says, “and I thought I would create something based on conflict resolution, a skill I masteredofficial view of the EC after joining the Euro-Med Programme.”or the EU institutions.The EC accepts no The Euro-Med Youth Programme – funded by the European Com-responsibility or mission to the tune of €5 million for the period 2010-2013 – aims at ENPI Info Centre – Feature no. 42liability whatsoever This is a series of features on encouraging mutual comprehension among young people in thewith regard to its projects funded by the EU’s Euro-Mediterranean region, fighting stereotypes and prejudices and Regional Programme, prepared bycontent. promoting active citizenship. It also seeks to contribute to the de- journalists and photographers on velopment of youth policies in the Mediterranean area. Youth ex- the ground or the ENPI Info Centre. ENPI Info Centre/EU 2011© change, training programmes, voluntary services are carried out
  • Listening to what the young have to say p.2 ENPI Info Centre - Feature no. 42 “Many countries in through the Euro-Med Europe suffered region targeting young from decades of un- people and national or- rest, before making ganizations. Europe what it is to- This is the fourth Youth day. There is a programme financed by chance to learn from the EU: in the last decade, them, and we must thousands of young peo- grab it”. ple from both shores of the Mediterranean have benefited from this expe- rience, which changes forever the life of those who attend it – as hap- pened to Raed Ghareeb, n Students at the University who became an instructor in conflict resolution, believing men and women from all shores of Jordan of the Mediterranean need to be exposed to a culture of dialogue, tolerance, respect for human rights. They need to learn to fight xenophobia and stereotypes. Rising social violence among youth “Youth in the Ghareeb belongs to a country where society knows what tolerance for diversity means. For Middle East years, stable Jordan played a key role in absorbing wave after wave of immigrants who fled and even their countries in search of safety, Circassians, Armenians and Chechens at the start of the North Africa 20th century, followed by Palestinians, Lebanese and now Iraqis. Dozens of Jordanian tribes have been add to the complexity of this society, which has become a melting pot of races and religions. overlooked by Today Jordan is grappling with an acute economic problem that has been compounded politicians. n Amer Bani Amer by lack of energy resources and a volatile political situation in surrounding countries. Even This program worse is the rising phenomenon of social violence among young people, who make up 70 is an instru- per cent of the population. In a study released by a university student group called ment to grant “Thabahtouna” (You killed us), at least 37 clashes involving thousands of students broke them power” .“As we grow closer to out during 2010, leading to the death of one university student and the injury of dozensthe EU in terms of po- others. Some experts say lack of youth-targeting policies could be the underlying reason litical agreements, for this phenomenon. people from both sides also need to be Empowering the young directly involved in But government officials say their policy is to tap into the full potential of young men and this improving rela- women to face global economic meltdown and growing extremism. In fact, the EU-funded tion, otherwise all Youth programme has been embraced by Jordan as a unique opportunity to fulfil a policy agreements are to empower the young, and to create common grounds with fellow young Europeans. Ali meaningless” Bibi, advisor to the Minister of political development and director of the Euromed Youth programme III, has no doubt about it: “It is crucial to build a strategy to utilize the capability of our youth to continue the kingdom’s reform drive,” he says. “Since the establishment of the Ministry of political development, we initiated dialogue with all segments of the soci- ety, specially the youth, in order to have their voice heard.” One of the organizations who have applied to benefit from the fourth phase of the ex- change programme starting in 2011, is the al Hayat Centre, run by Amer Bani Amer who says lessons learned from youth exchange programmes are priceless. “As we grow closer to the EU in terms of political agreements, people from both sides also need to be directly involved in this improving relation, otherwise all agreements are meaningless,” says Bani
  • Listening to what the young have to say p.3ENPI Info Centre - Feature no. 42 n Participants at Amer, whose organization hosted a group of EU youth the EU funded Youth Program. activists in a project titled “Sustainable development”. Through his programme, Bani Amer says activists were able to identify some of the most important environ- mental challenges that face Jordan, including drought, pollution and other issues little known to European counterparts. “If we need people to help us, they should first know about our problems,” he concludes. Former programme manager in Jordan Dua’a Qurie, as well as the new team leader, Ms Gehad Galal, agree that the exchange programme has helped transform the lives of many people. “Youth in the Middle East and even North Africa have been overlooked by politicians. The programme is an instrument to grant them power,” says Qurie, who herself started as a youth exchange beneficiary. Ms Galal says such programmes could mean a new be- ginning for young people from this region. “We have so many cases where beneficiaries developed to become in- structors and established their own exchange programmes by building networks with fellow EU participants.” EuroMed Youth IV http://www.euromedyouth.net/ Supports and strengthens the participation and contribution of youth organisations and youth from the Euro-Mediterranean region to the development of society and democracy, and promotes dialogue and understanding. Participating countries Aims Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, The programme aims at stimulating and encouraging a mutual comprehension among youth in Lebanon, Morocco, Occupied the Euro-Mediterranean region, fighting stereotypes and prejudices and enhancing the sense of Palestinian Territory, Syria, solidarity among youth by promoting active citizenship. It also seeks to contribute to the Tunisia development of youth policies in the Mediterranean Partner Countries. Timeframe Find out more 2010 – 2013 Euro-Med Youth III, fiche and news http://www.enpi-info.eu/mainmed.php?id=53&id_type=10 Budget Enpi Info Centre Youth webpage €5 million http://www.enpi-info.eu/thememed.php?subject=13 The ENPI Info Centre is an EU-funded Regional Information and Communication project highlighting the partnership between the EU and Neighbouring countries. The project is managedENPI info centre info ce t e by Action Global Communications. www.enpi-info.eu www.enpi-info.eu p