The first time I saw the Yala Young Leaders Facebook page and their online university, I said to myself: “This is strange! What are these people trying to do?”
Most people, on both sides of the conflict tend to think that peace and dialogue cannot happen. The circle of violence is simply going on and on, and the world looks on without being able to do anything about it.
But when I read about the program, and when I saw that people from all over the MENA region would be participating, I decided that I wanted to apply. Not only would we receive great courses from great universities, but we would also get know one another and ask each other questions about our lives.
Thanks to MLC (the Mena Leaders for Change department of the online university), I had the chance to attend a great meeting at the American House in Jerusalem. During this meeting, I met other MLC students from Israel and Palestine.
When the online courses started I found myself very commitment to reading the material and participating in the discussions. Having a closed group on Facebook just for the MLC students was a lovely idea! I was part of a group of young people who wanted to express their opinion and who wanted to share their ideas with no fear. We all felt safe on the page, and talking to other participants was easy and always interesting.
Through the program we got to know each other and our stories. We were not only living together in the same region, but we were also becoming friends.
Last September we all gathered in Jordan for a conference. When we arrived, I saw everyone sitting and chatting with people from different countries and backgrounds. It was crazy to think that it was the first time we were meeting! I was shocked. How could that happen despite walls and borders, and through only a relationship on the internet?!
I also want to mention the lovely courses and workshop we were offered during the conference. We learned about how to make our projects become a reality, and about negotiation together. Those skills are so important for all of us in the region. And on top of everything, the most important thing we learned was to always keep an open mind and to always listen to one another, whether you like or agree with them, or not.
My hope is to see the people who took part in the program staying connected and keeping in touch. I really want this! I miss each and every one of you, and not only the people who came to Jordan for the conference, but also the people I only met online. I miss every minute I spent there.
I hope that everyone will try to make even small change, and hopefully, together, we will build a better future for our children. So, MLC Alumni, keep that in mind: Nothing is impossible, everything is POSSIBLE . Thank you!