UNAoC grant funds new Youth project

Several TYO volunteers on a trip to Bethlehem University

In late November, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Youth Fund awarded TYO a $20,000 grant for its “Speaking for Ourselves: Youth-led Do-plomacy” project. TYO’s project was chosen out of 500+ submissions for this very exciting award.

The project will engage three Palestinian and three American interns as the leaders of the project. Through extensive training in intercultural dialogue and familiarization with Palestinian culture (both traditional and modern forms), the six interns will produce a user‐friendly, multi‐media guide to present Palestinian culture to audiences around the world. For the duration of the project, the six interns will document their experience on several social media sites including this blog, Facebook and Twitter. The final result of the project will be a Do‐plomacy Manual designed by our interns to teach other youth about Nablus culture in a way that is interesting, authentic and dissolves prejudice. This tool, in conjunction with the project’s social media efforts, will address the critical problem in Nablus of being isolated from the rest of the world as well as growing divides between the Middle East and the US (and North America and Europe).

Since the beginning of December, coordinators Imad and Chelsey have worked diligently to prepare for the project’s official launch next month. Imad attended a training course in Strasbourg, France from December 12 to19 on effective global youth projects for intercultural dialogue. Chelsey continues to work in conjunction with Nell and Wynne, TYO’s Executive Directors, to recruit three American interns for the project.

Once the Manual is complete, interns will lead Do‐plomacy sessions, directly reaching at least 360 youth here in the West Bank and abroad. However, our target is truly the entire world – we will commit great energy to spreading the concept and our Manual as far and wide as possible. Likewise, we are committed to its sustainability: each spring, TYO will recruit 2 interns, one Palestinian and one American, to revise the Manual as needed based on changing cultural and political contexts.

Isabelle LeGare, Youth Programs manager at UNAoC wrote the following message to Imad following his participation in the Strasbourg conference.

“Your level of commitment to TYO's work and Palestinian youth was extremely impressive. You worked so well in the team and acted as a "sponge", wanting to get as much as you could from the training. Your comments, ideas and level of engagement showed that you are a true leader. I am really really looking forward to working with you in the next 6 months and beyond. TYO can count on a very strong coordinator for their Youth Solidarity Fund project.”

We look forward to advancing intercultural dialogue in Nablus through the launch of this project early next year.