Young Arab Voices Forum: Arab League Chief calls for youth to play central role in rebuilding regional institutions
The Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil El Araby has called on the Arab youth toplay a central role in rebuilding regional institutions, in a debate with young people from across the region organised today at the Arab League Headquarters, next to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as part of the Anna Lindh Foundation and British Council’s ‘Young Arab Voices’ programme.
The debate, moderated by BBC Arabic, brought together 35 representatives of the Young Arab Voices debating programme from several countries, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco and Palestine, as well as live inputs from youth from Syria, Yemen and Kuwait through a new media platform, according to a press release.
Speaking during the debate with the Arab youth panel, Secretary General El Araby said: “My ambition as Secretary-General is to convince the States to introduce the reforms we need to revitalise the Arab League and pan-Arab cooperation. In this regard, young people have an important role to play and must already begin thinking and debating about the next generation of regional institutions in response to the new demands of the citizens.”
Key issues raised by the Arab youth through the debate included: reform of the Arab League to be more effective and play a central role on the international stage; security and the role of the League in intervening in conflicts of the region; the role of the League in supporting countries going through the process of democratic transition; the voice of youth in contributing to the revitalisation of regional institutions and the establishment of an elected Arab parliament; and the Arab-Israeli conflict as a barrier to regional cooperation and pan-Arab identity.
The debate was broadcast online to millions of people across the region and stimulated debate through social media. In addition, new media group Soilya provided VoxPop videos on pan-Arab issues, which have been filmed during the last month with youth from countries including Syria, Kuwait and Yemen.
The special dialogue forum has been organised in the framework of ‘Young Arab Voices’, the joint debating programme of the British Council and Anna Lindh Foundation. Launched amidst the Arab uprisings of 2011, Young Arab Voices focuses on training young people in debating and advocacy skills, and has already led to the establishment of new debating clubs in schools, universities, cultural centres and NGOs across the Arab region.
The Anna Lindh Foundation for Inter-Cultural Dialogue promotes knowledge, mutual respect and inter-cultural dialogue between the people of the Euro-Mediterranean region, working through a network of more than 3,000 civil society organisations in 43 countries. Its budget is co-funded by the EU (€7 million) and the EU member states (€6 million). (EU Neighbourhood Info)