Friday, May 14, 2010
For the third consecutive year, SI (The Swedish Institute) is organizing its widely acclaimed Young Leaders Visitors Program in Sweden, a program that is facilitated by Hyper Island. Via social media and network building, the YLVP is designed to support young opinion makers from MENA* in their efforts to promote freedom of expression and democratic development in their region. New features in this year’s program are extensive cooperation with the Tällberg Foundation at Rework the World and the presence of participants from Yemen.
In 2008, over 20 people took part in the program, including the world-famous Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas. In 2009, the participants numbered 35 from eight countries, and at this year’s program 28 people from 10 countries will be taking part. The program runs from 10 to 30 May in Stockholm and Karlskrona. Through the Young Leaders Visitors Program, SI is taking on the highly important task of making the blog movement in the Middle East better known to the world.
“A burning issue in the region is the need to give young people a chance to express themselves and to find meaningful work,” says Javeria Rizvi Kabani, the YLVP project leader at SI.
After the program ends, this year’s participants will meet up with participants from previous years and with some 2 000 dignitaries, decision-makers and grassroots activitists for two intensive days at Rework the World in Leksand, central Sweden. The theme of this 5th Global YES Summit is international networks and new green jobs. Thus the aim of developing long-term, productive networks for the YLVP participants looks thoroughly realistic.
For the first time, participants from Yemen will also be attending YLVP 2010. The list includes:
· A 29-year-old woman from Tunisia who on her own initiative has compiled a list of all Internet users in her country who have had their profiles on Facebook blocked by the censors. She has then sent the persons concerned technical solutions enabling them to get round the censorship.
· Ali Fahkry from IndyACT in Lebanon, who is working with environmental issues both in his own country and in the Arab world in a very exciting way, using social media.
· Hana Al-Khamri from Yemen, a journalist and human rights activist whose articles have often been too controversial for newspapers to publish. To get them out, she has used such channels as the Al-Jazeera Talk Blog, a site that is blocked by the Yemeni government from time to time precisely because of the sensitive nature of its content.
· Kacem Jlidi from Tunisia, a project leader from dance4life, which is an international initiative combining dance and social media seeking to give young people a powerful voice to counter the stigmatization and taboos surrounding HIV. This initiative was described as an excellent example by Kofi Annan in 2004.
The Swedish participants in this year’s program are Johanna Wallin, a journalist resident in Palestine, Gabrielle Jönsson, a journalist based in Shanghai and Dhaka, Andreas Hasslert from Ibn Rushd and Marina Ferhatovic from Swedish public service television (SVT).
Follow the YLVP live at www.ylvp.se
Background (in English): http://www.si.se/ylvp_background
The YLVP on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXkOOw6KaY0
Rework the World: http://www.reworktheworld.org/