youngleaders

Facebook youths gather for real-life Middle East peace summit

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Young adults from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region who are active members of a Facebook movement promoting peace gathered in real life for a summit.

Activists from the YaLa-Young Leaders page met in Berlin this weekend to “discuss and devise an initiative for the future of the MENA region.” More than 162,000 people like the page, and 18 of the most active members gathered for the summit, according to the Associated Press.

Youths from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco, discussed issues such as human rights, education, economic development, and the role of youth in promoting peace in the region.

The delegates met with Dr. Heinrich Kreft, an ambassador and Special Representative for Dialogue among Civilizations and Public Diplomacy at the German Foreign Ministry, before the conference began. They also met with “important figures from the public and private sector.”

The group, founded in May last year, places focus on “dialogue and engagement as a means to securing a safe, productive, and peaceful region, capitalizing on the catalyzing power of social networks, media and technology. It is a movement led by young adults, for young adults.”

Members previously met with the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, and the group has a standing relationship with soccer club Barcelona.

In January, YaLa-Young Leaders held an online conference bringing tens of thousands of young people together to discuss peace. Participants were addressed (via video) by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Facebook Vice President David Fischer among others.

The group’s Nimrod Ben-Zeev told the AP that it plans to launch an online university in 2013.

Photo via Facebook