Young people in Occupied Palestinian Territories have been learning how to use dialogue and persuasive argument to put their views across in a national tournament run by the British Council in partnership with the Anna Lindh Foundation and funded by the European Union.
The competition, which is part of Young Mediterranean Voices, took place in Jericho in November 2018. Over three days, 48 young Palestinians debated issues which are important to young people, including social mobility.
In advance of the event participants received training from three partner organisations: The Community Development and Continued Education Institute (CDCE-I) in Bethlehem, Al Awda Centre to Care for Childhood and the Youth in Tulkarem, and the Youth Development Resource Centre in Hebron. The partners provided training to develop skills in argument, using scientific research, and debating and presentation skills.
The winner was announced on the final day at a ceremony which was attended by Dr Saeb Erikat, former Chief of the PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee and a leading Palestinian negotiator. He shared his experiences with the young participants.
Martin Daltry, Director of the British Council in Occupied Palestinian Territories, also spoke at the event, underlining the importance of debate in promoting mutual understanding and in contributing to policy development. He said: ‘The Young Mediterranean Voices programme helps enhance the skills of the participants and opens new opportunities for them, offering them more positive options for the future.’ He added that a major factor in the success of the programme was the support from partner organisations, including the Anna Lindh Foundation, and local Palestinian civil society organisations.
Young Mediterranean Voices is set to become a major programme in the region, connecting civil society, education institutions and policymakers across Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. Building on more than five years’ investment in the field, as well as established networks, pioneering methodologies and independent research, the overall objective of Young Mediterranean Voices programme is to: ‘empower young people to enhance a culture of dialogue, to contribute to public policy and shape media discourses, and to create a shared understanding with peers across the Mediterranean on how to address issues of common concern to their communities.’