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iiDebate in JID2017 : WORK WITH YOUTH, NOT ON YOUTH

Youth. Arts. Justice. Human Rights. Education. Freedom of expression. Representation. Media. Etc… All of these issues are the pieces of one puzzle: DEMOCRACY.

Several organizations around Tunisia got together to try and put these pieces together during “Let’s Celebrate Democracy!” It is a 4-day event in which different individuals and organizations can participate. It is an open invitation for different parties to demonstrate democratic values and principles. It is an open invitation for different parties to demonstrate democratic values and principles through filling out a form on the JID website to suggest an activity that could be part of the festivities from the 15th to 18th of September 2017.

The international day of democracy which coincides with Tunisian students’ favorite day is on September 15th. It was a decision taken by the UN back in 2007 in order to put democratic practices in different countries under scrutiny and to provide the civil society organizations with a reminder of their broader goal which is achieving justice and freedom for the people. In Tunisia, it was celebrated for the first time in September 2016.

Different activities ranging from artistic performances to political debates took place all over the country. The event was a national movement that included a high level of participation from youth. Since debates were among the suggested activities by JID, the International Institute of Debate showed interest and collaborated with other organizations in the event.

WHAT DID THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DEBATE DO?

Along with ICTJ (International Center for Transitional Justice), the International Institute of Debate organized two café talks the topic of which was youth marginalization especially in rural areas in the process of transitional justice. Based in New York, the ICTJ was founded in 2001. It aims at spreading awareness about the importance of and the need for justice and accountability as well as addressing and redressing the most severe violations of human rights. It works primarily with societies emerging from repressive rule, conflict, or countries with legacies of abuse that remained unsolved hence their presence in Tunisia.

The first cafe talk took place in Arena space in Lac and represented an opportunity for the International Institute of Debate and ICTJ to get together and explore how interconnected their visions are and how their collaboration can help in solving the issue of youth marginalization. ICTJ actually brought four photographers that took part of the open debate in the first day and they exhibited their work which is relevant to youth marginalization. There was also an intervention made by Abderahmen Hdhili the president of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) who mentioned a research that he made. The research stated that the most academically brilliant youth want to leave the country to search for better opportunities and the youth on the other end of the spectrum of academic excellence want to leave the country too for the same reason. This intervention by Abderahmen Hdhili was a wake-up call and signaled an urgent need for an urgent change.

In the second day, there was a cafe talk about the same topic along with Jamaity Organization in Habib Bourguiba Street as part of the Khaymati Program. In this context, the project coordinator of iiDebate Firas Gam who moderated the second café talk summed up the solution to several youth problems in Tunisia when he said “civil society organizations have to work WITH youth, not ON youth.”

 


About the writer

Atef Amri :

Hello! I am Atef Amri. I am 21 years old and I go to Tunis Higher Institute of Languages as an English student. I am a member of the communication team interns. What I do in iiDebate is fundamentally content writing which means covering and writing about the projects and the main events that iiDebate is involved in, in order to give people insight into what we are doing and how we are doing it. Also, I am helping in the creation of a newsletter that will include iidebate’s activities in the last semester that will hopefully be ready by the beginning of 2018. My message to youth is “appreciate the good things around you in life and love yourself. Because if you can’t love yourself, then what’s the point of loving anything or anyone else

About the video editor  

Ahlem Naceur,

I am Ahlem Naceur, a junior student at Tunis business school majoring in marketing with a minor in business analytics. I am in charge of editing all video for iiDebate. During the past two years I managed to become very active within clubs. Also I managed to have a part- time internship within a startup, that experience made me learn more about how to manage time between school and working, managing stressful situations and being successful in both.I participated in TBS MUN where I represented China. That was a challenging experience speaking with the name of a different country and defending it policies until the end. Currently a team leader of ICO_TBS (international cultural organization).