Youth movements and youth initiatives are thriving in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa. The institute has witnessed this in Alexandria where several initiatives ask for space and support for their debates, trainings, discussions, workshops and seminars. Today on Democracy Day, 70 youth from Alexandria are gathering at the institute to promote awareness on emergency health and first aid. The group is volunteering medical students from Alexandria University and collectively their professors and other medical staff from the university. The initiative provides free sessions to participants with the aim of creating community leaders that are able to help in times of crises, emergency and accidents. When we asked medical student Mina what drives him to do this he said: “We need to empower people with knowledge and skills that might save lives in the future and make our environment safer. This is one thing that I can do”
Youth-led movements for democratic change are on the rise in a number of countries. Together with the Arab Forum for Alternative Studies, the institute has developed a series of training workshops for youth movements in Egypt and with regional participation from Yemen and Morocco. This month, 26-28 September, representatives from both Morocco and Yemen will share knowledge with their Egyptian counterparts, exchange experiences and discuss the role of youth in the political process in their countries, and how networking and cooperation between different youth movements can be activated. Participants will also discuss other topics, including good governance, internal democracy values and tools, how to reach decision makers through crowds and lobbying, and the role of youth in political life. To learn more about this initiative see: http://swedalex.org/regional-participation-in-youth-movements-workshop/
Youth in Politics
The institute strongly believe in the role of youth in solving their community problems, whether by personal initiatives, working through political parties or NGOs. But the institute is also concerned with the studies that indicate that there is a growing political apathy among youth worldwide today.
The institute and the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute have agreed that this year`s youth in politics will be a collaboration between the two organizations with the aim to bring together youth from the two regions whom are members of political parties or active in civil society. The main theme of the workshop scheduled in December this year is youth employment, and how youth entrepreneurship and green economy jobs can develop society. Youth participation in politics can advance local policy making and offer required solutions.
The workshop will provide an opportunity to listen to experts in the field of entrepreneurship and share experiences with already existing successful initiatives and ventures. Further to that the workshop will provide a lot of opportunities to network, share experiences and build strategies among youth of both regions. There will also be a workshop module on the growing phenomena of extremism in Europe and the MENA region and how youth can be active in countering these trends.
Youth participation is a cross-cutting theme that all of us have to be aware of and continuously think of. In our activities and initiatives we have to make sure that youth are engaged, present and central in the dialogue. Youth need support for their ideas; they need capacity and recognition for their achievements. Here at SwedAlex we will continue to serve as a platform for youth from the Middle East- North Africa and Europe who work for the democratic development of their societies.