Reporting to Others – youth, journalism and dialogue

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Project presentation

Piloting 4 Youth Led Community Projects to promote Intercultural Dialogue in Lebanon: To support young people to get involved in local community action and development projects tailored towards promoting messages of peace and dialogue, UBO is piloting 4 BE THE CHANGE youth led projects. The aim of this pilot is to encourage young people to be the change they want to see in their schools and communities; to promote messages of peace and dialogue; to encourage youth on participation and freedom of expression; and to give youth a venue for expressing their needs and dreams in their communities. The pilot will be documented, evaluated, and amended as to be scaled up in other countries of the region.  This pilot will be implemented in partnership with the Arab Thought Foundation and the UNESCO Lebanese National Commission.  The pilot is expected to be completed and documented in March 2013.  Terms of reference and minutes of meetings with partners are available upon request.
Regional Training for Youth on Research and Intercultural Dialogue: A 2 days regional training workshop for Youth was held in Beirut on 6/7 September 2013 to:  a) Orient youth on issues pertaining to "Fostering a Culture of Peace and Intercultural Dialogue in the Arab States" and their roles as researchers in disseminating this culture; b) learn about research methods and tools: qualitative and quantitative; c) shed the light on the role of information technologies in conducting research.
The meeting was attended by 19 participants from 11 Arab Countries. As follow up to this formation, all participants were appointed as Focal Points to assist in the mapping activity described above.
Manual and training Model are being developed. Expected to be delivered in February 2014.
Part of this project was implemented in Lebanon and Sudan. Were School teachers and students were trained on planning and implementing media campaigns in their neighbourhoods.
A manual on the use of media tools: video/photos/and social media is being developed.

Regional Network for Media Professionals

Within the framework of HAWER Program, UNESCO Beirut Office has worked on creating and supporting a network of media professionals in the Arab States with the aim of promoting Peace and Dialogue. The role of the media in the presentation of events, which in turn affects the shaping of people‘s perceptions of those events, is fundamental. In the way they report, the media can create tensions by spreading stereotypes or incorrect information, or ease tensions by explaining carefully social and political events that may create misperceptions between and among communities. The network believes that joint efforts to improve this situation across our region would have a positive effect, contributing to a culture of dialogue based on mutual acquaintance and respect. To this effect the network works to achieve the following objectives:

  • Discuss and identify main existing opportunities and challenges faced by the media sector in relation to the promotion of a culture of dialogue and intercultural dialogue at the regional and national levels of the Arab States.
  • Share successful existing experiences/initiatives that contributed to the promotion of a culture of dialogue through the media especially among youth.
  • Translate the Rabat Declarations into tangible activities.
  • Strengthen and sensitize a media support regional structure for the promotion of a culture of dialogue in the Arab states.

HAWER University Certified Accredited Courses

One of the main missions of UNESCO is to provide space for dialogue and freedom of expression for all the cultures worldwide. This dialogue has a new meaning in the scope of globalization and the current regional and international political context. It is an essential tool to safeguard global peace and cohesion. Within this spirit, and under the framework of HAWER - the UNESCO project “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue”, the UNESCO Office in Beirut has developed a set of Arabic certified courses with the aim of spreading the culture of Intercultural Dialogue among youth. As our region is facing a major transformation process and our youth are taking a leading role in this process, we believe that working on the promotion of understanding and dialogue is a prime issue for a positive transformation, peace and stability. Towards this end, it is imperative to stress the important responsibility of universities in providing a space for nurturing a culture of dialogue and intercultural dialogue through knowledge, skills, values, and community services.
In phase one of the project 3 courses were developed, adopted, and implemented more than 10 universities in the region. The courses focus on:
1. Intercultural Dialogue Competence: This unique course is a pioneer initiative developed to spread the skills of intercultural dialogue within the texture of the Arab States. It is intended to target graduate students. It will concentrate on the core concepts and general principles of intercultural dialogue that stem from understating the importance of cultural diversity for a society that respects and celebrates differences. The course combines both theoretical and practical aspects, aiming at providing students with hands-on experience in the area of promotion of intercultural dialogue skills in the Arab region. The specific objective of this course is to equip students with the competence of examining the field of intercultural dialogue according to the theories that inform this field, as well as to empower them with practical applications of doing this work within local Arab communities either through community service or volunteerism-oriented projects. 
2. Migration and Refugees: As the issue of Syrian refugees is imposing many challenges in the country, it is imperative to offer university students an opportunity to engage in discussion about migrant rights, legal status, and different policies adopted in host countries. This course presents an overview of mobility and circulation, the variety of factors involved in international mobility, people management, border, migration, the economic dimension of migration policy, different actions made in the field… 
3. Foundation for Peace and Conflict: This course is designed to provide a common foundation, engage students in an examination of the major contemporary challenges to peace, sources of conflict and violence, and several key nonviolent mechanisms for conflict transformation and prevention. During the course, an understanding of the complex and interconnected challenges to peace will be developed, as will an understanding of the need for multi-faceted approaches to meeting these challenges. Students will also engage critically with theories of conflict, and will develop their understanding of the theoretical resources available in the area of conflict studies. An important aspect of the course will also be the introduction to skills integral to the field of peace and conflict studies and to the UPeace pedagogy at large. These include non-violent communication, appreciative enquiry and dialogue. 
The three courses has been adopted and taught by 5 universities in Lebanon. In year 2013/2014, 300 students have registered and graduated from these courses. In phase II of the project, it is intended to scale up this initiative as to take a regional scope