Young Peacebuilders in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
The second edition of UNAOC’s Young Peacebuilders was launched in the summer of 2017, focusing on the region of the Middle East and North Africa.
Implemented in collaboration with Generations For Peace and funded by AEXCID (Agencia Extremeña de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo), the Young Peacebuilders Programme is an example of a meaningful partnership that strengthens the ground-breaking UN Security Council Resolutions 2250 and 2419 on Youth, Peace and Security which recognize that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security”.
Through a competitive call for applications, 20 young men and women from 12 countries in the MENA region were selected among more than 850 applicants to take part in the programme. The group was balanced in terms of gender and reflected diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.
The programme took place in four phases of learning, to maximize the outcomes that can be achieved trough a single one-week training and encourage participants to apply the lessons learned:
Phase 1: Online Engagement
An online platform was created for exchange and learning among participants, supporting participants to come better prepared to the workshop: the network had started forming and collaborating, and the group had basic common references for some key terms and concepts.
Participants were encouraged to start getting to know each other and the programme team in order to foster a positive learning environment and create linkages among the group before meeting in person. They were presented with content and were also challenged to contribute to this content and its understanding by sharing their own experience and exchanging ideas with each other. The participant-friendly methodology kept participants motivated and engaged and connected the content to their own life and experience.
Phase 2: Face-to-face Workshop
The workshop for 20 participants from the MENA region was held in Amman, Jordan, from Feb 19-23, 2018. The overall aim of the workshop was to consolidate and leverage the learning from the online phase of the programme and use it as a basis for deepening reflection and skills acquisition in the field of peacebuilding, intercultural dialogue and conflict transformation.
Methodology: Experiential learning, using games and interactive methods as a basis to introduce the topics. Each activity was debriefed to stimulate reflection and encourage participants to make sense of the experience, introduce or review concepts, tools and frameworks, and draw conclusions to inform future action.
Main outcomes: Consolidation of the network and creation of personal action plans in which participants outlined specific actions they would take in the following months. Participants were empowered to translate the learning into specific actions that can benefit their organizations and advance intercultural dialogue and peacebuilding in their communities, thus increasing their contribution as agents of peace.
Phase 3: Applied Learning
Each participant of the programme developed a personal action plan in Amman and in the months following the workshop, they were challenged to make it come to life. Participants were encouraged to reinforce and integrate the learning through concrete practice, and to multiply the messages and benefits of their intercultural learning experience.
Together, the group reached more than 800 additional persons by organizing step-down activities.
Phase 4: Results-sharing symposium
During the symposium, which will take place on September 20 and 21, 2018, in Amman, Jordan, the Young Peacebuilders will have the opportunity to share their experiences, lessons learned, achievements and recommendations with a broad audience of practitioners, UN staff, policy makers, civil society and other experts.
The first edition of Young Peacebuilders took place in West Africa in 2016 with 20 young men and women from the region, with a workshop in Abuja, Nigeria. Read more about this edition here.
The second edition of Young Peacebuilders will take place in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region in 2017. Read more about this upcoming edition here.