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Young Leadership Experience 2019
This January, YPI’s first year-programme kicked off. After the recruitment process, six new young Israelis and six new young Palestinians have joined the Youth Peace Initiative. They are young leaders in their communities, passionate about peacebuilding and hopeful for a better future. They are the pioneers of YPI during our one year programme: the “Young Leadership Experience”. The Young Leadership Experience is a programme for ambitious Israeli and Palestinian youth. Throughout the year, YPI will facilitate meetings for dialogue, workshops and other activities to build their leadership skills and explore the roles they can have in their societies.
The kick-off meetings were a great success. The sessions started with an introduction of the participants. Following, we introduced them to YPI, the Young Leadership Experience and the conference in the Netherlands. After that, former participants shared their experiences with YPI. The meetings ended with a group dynamic session in which the participants got to know each other better. On the 25th of January the groups met up together for the first time, which was of course a very exciting day. The participants engaged in a painting workshop during which they had to paint one another. The goal of this workshop was to not to just look at each other, but to really see the individual that is in front of you. Therefore, a significant difference from previous conferences was that the participants had already got to know each other back in the region, rather than on the first day of the MEPP conference 2019.
From the 2nd to the 9th of March, YPI organised their fourth conference in The Hague with a new group of Israeli and Palestinian young leaders. They were joined by an international delegation of participants from South Africa, Rwanda, Cyprus and Armenia that contributed greatly to the week by sharing their experiences with (post-)conflict societies. Another great addition to previous conferences was the participation of Chen and Odai, participants from the delegations of 2014 and 2016! They coached both groups, and acted as mentors. With their personal experiences as participants in 2014 and 2016, they had the unique ability to fully understand the process which the delegation of 2019 was going through. YPI is very thankful for their participation and support throughout the preparatory meetings in the conference.
Despite hard times, the delegation of 2019 succeeded to end the week as a unified group. YPI could not be prouder and more impressed with each individual! The week was finalised by making agreements and action plans that are documented in Our Common Future IV. Throughout the rest of the Young Leadership Experience, together with the Programme Officers in the Region Esther and Joep, the group will be working towards realising their plans.
Next Generation Peacebuilders Video Contest
Together with the Carnegie Foundation and the United Network Of Young Peacebuilders, YPI organised ‘The Next Generation Peacebuilders Video Contest’ to highlight best practices of young peacebuilders! The initiatives of young peacebuilders deserve more acknowledgement and can inspire and encourage others to start their own project.
The winner of the contest and therefore the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize is awarded the title ‘Youth Ambassador of the Peace Palace’ during the Carnegie Peace Building Conversations Conference in The Hague and received a conference ticket to the One Young World Summit in The Hague, respectively taking place in September and October 2018.
BogotArt, a youth-led organisation from Colombia was the lucky applicant to win the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize for the first time!
MEPP Conference 2018
We kicked off on Sunday with a circle practice, where everyone introduced themselves and during which the participants constructed a list of principles which we agreed to work with for the rest of the week. The principles had the aim to create a ‘Safe Space’ during the week, so that each participant felt both free and safe to speak their minds. Amongst others, these principles included to ‘listen with attention’, ‘speak with intention’, and ‘care for the group’. Then, it was time to properly break the ice through a theatre workshop from the Troeba theatre group and a canal tour through the canals of Amsterdam. Finally, the group had an amazing dinner during which they got to know each other better.
On the second day of the conference we visited the Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs. They explained to us how the Dutch respond to foreign conflict and the difficulties the UN encounters in the case of the Responsibility to Protect. We then headed back to Amsterdam for a workshop from Assistent Professor Michelle Parlevliet on Transitional Justice, preparing us for the public event that evening at SPUI25. At our public event, Fleur Ravensbergen and Michelle Parlevliet gave interesting talks on their work in the field, followed by two inspirational speeches from our international participants Emina and Leyla on the work they have done in their (post) -conflict countries Bosnia and Cyprus.
On Tuesday morning, we started the day with high school students from different high schools in Amsterdam. In groups, the students cooperated with the participants and the board to establish ideas that might bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together. From perspectives such as education, art and technology the different groups came up with creative and inspiring ideas. The high school activity was followed by a workshop from Dr. David Laws from the Amsterdam Centre for Conflict Studies. The participants were divided into groups of three and were given a listening and storytelling exercise. A challenging, but very educational activity.
Wednesday was a day during which the participants delved into the specifics of the conflict more thoroughly. It was an emotional and challenging day that reminded the group of their day to day realities back home. However, despite the difficulties they encountered, the group admirably managed to help each other out and left the day on a positive note.
After an evaluation of the day before and a moment of personal reflection, Thursday allowed for conversations and discussions in an ‘Open Space’. In this ‘Open Space’ each participant had the opportunity to open dialogues on topics of their choice, allowing them to set the agenda according to their needs while they were still in Amsterdam. The ‘Open Space’ was followed by a drawing workshop from sketching artist Edwin Stoop. This drawing workshop created the opportunity for the participants to look towards the future and to discover their common values with regards to the conflict. From thereon they were able to create 10 guiding principles that constitute the foundation of ‘Our Common Future III’.
Friday, our last day, was the moment for all Israeli and Palestinian participants to individually develop their ideas into action plans and to discuss the role of YPI in these projects. During this activity the international participants and the board served as critical listeners to facilitate the session. YPI is currently working hard to evaluate all ideas the participants came up with, exploring the possibilities of realising them! We celebrated the final day and the accomplishments of the week with a reception at the official residence of the mayor of Amsterdam; Jozias van Aartsen. Here, we presented ‘Our Common Future III’ to the public and to mayor Van Aartsen. Present were furthermore the people that contributed to the preparation of the conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and close affiliates and friends of YPI. You can find ‘Our Common Future III’ here!
In addition to ‘Our Common Future III’, Edwin Stoop also revealed the final drawing he made during the conference, that displays everything that the group went over, discussed, and had felt. You can find the drawing here!
As our evaluation of the conference and its follow up are still in full swing, we will keep you up to date of our work via our website and Facebook-page! More profound descriptions will be set out in our next newsletter!