PalThink for Strategic Studies has recently launched the ‘Youth Dialogue’ program as a key component of the ‘Building Tomorrow’s Leaders for Palestine’ project in partnership with FXB. This program aims to empower and develop young leaders within Palestinian society, equipping them with the necessary skills for societal progress and active participation in decision-making processes. PalThink’s overarching goal is to cultivate a generation of critical thinkers who embrace diverse perspectives and engage in constructive dialogue.
The ‘Youth Dialogue’ program fosters open discussions and debates on various topics, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting the youth. These dialogues serve to enhance mutual understanding and promote meaningful conversations within the society.
The inaugural episode of the program, titled ‘Education Systems Promoting Dialogue among Palestinian Youth,’ was aired on Zaman Local Radio. The episode featured youth activist Reem Al-Khalili, a graduate of the program, and Dr. Bassam Saeed, an academic and researcher specializing in community affairs.
During the episode, Al-Khalili shed light on the educational systems and strategies employed in Palestine, highlighting the challenges faced by students that hinder their ability to engage in dialogue. She emphasized the role of civil society organizations in supporting young individuals by providing platforms for self-expression through various activities and community involvement. Al-Khalili also discussed the need for universities to activate student council elections as a means to facilitate constructive dialogue and amplify student voices.
Furthermore, Al-Khalili underscored the importance of debates as peaceful avenues for dialogue, advocating for their widespread adoption among all groups within society.
Dr. Saeed contributed to the discussion by addressing curricula, courses, and their application. He noted the prevalent lack of organized and logical methods for dialogue among students and academics, hindering the attainment of satisfactory outcomes. Dr. Saeed also emphasized the absence of a culture of dialogue, mechanisms for promoting acceptance of others, and fostering cultural diversity across generations.
The subsequent episode, titled ‘Youth’s Political Participation,’ featured lawyer and youth activist Fayeq Mohsen, another graduate of PalThink’s ‘Building Tomorrow’s Leaders for Palestine’ project, along with Dr. Mahmoud Issa, a researcher specializing in economic and development issues.
Mohsen shared his experience within the project, discussing the implemented mechanisms and emphasizing the significance of youth involvement in political participation. He underscored the importance of granting youth access to positions that enable decision-making and highlighted the role of youth movements as a form of political engagement. Mohsen stressed the need for political awareness to foster sustainable political development.
Sally Al-Sammak, PalThink’s Project Coordinator, provided insight into her organization’s role in empowering young individuals with life skills and equipping them with the knowledge necessary for meaningful contributions to decision-making processes.
She detailed the project’s activities, which include organizing debates across the governorates of the Gaza Strip. Al-Sammak emphasized the instrumental role of debates in promoting rational discourse among young people, particularly given the prevailing lack of dialogue and the unfortunate rejection of others fueled by hate speech and intolerance resulting from political divisions.
Dr. Issa delved into the concept of youth political participation, outlining its importance and the content it encompasses. He highlighted the transformative impact of youth engagement on political awareness and the comprehensive development of society. Dr. Issa emphasized the significant right to candidacy and participation in Palestinian elections.
He also discussed the main obstacles and challenges to political participation, drawing attention to the limited involvement of youth in parliamentary, academic, union, and municipal spheres.
Dr. Issa underscored the impact of political divisions on youth participation and the need for unified efforts to resolve these divisions, thereby facilitating the activation of youth political engagement at all levels and contributing to the resolution of Palestinian society’s crises.