I spent five months studying and interacting with the YaLa team through courses online, talking to countless youth throughout the MENA region. We discussed political and social issues, and receiving the invitation to participate in their conference was the best thing that happened to me in 2014. But as we got closer to the event, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go, but an internal echo was pushing me not to miss this experience.
As I started to talk with the participants face to face, connecting the names on Facebook with the faces and working together during the conference, I did not only find them open-minded, but they had open hearts too. Everyone, without exception, was open to the “other”, thirsty to learn more, happy to share experiences, and full of energy and hope. They were all inspiring and helped to restore my hope for peace in the MENA region, which made me and others dance the whole night by the pool.
On the top of that, getting the chance to meet and talk with the American Consulate staff and diplomats, as well as the staff at the Peres Peace Center made me feel privileged and very close to change and having my voice heard.
Taking part of TEDxCoEx Project, which aims to spread the word of peace and coexistence among the MENA region, was the fruit of the conference, especially with members from Palestine, Israel, and Yemen working together on this project.