A special BBC Arabic debate hosts Arab League: Calling youth to play a central role in rebuilding regional institutions

the Secretary-General of the Arab League hosts a debate with youth

 For the first time since the Arab
awakening, the Secretary-General of the Arab League hosts a debate with youth
from across the region as part of the Anna Lindh Foundation and British
Council’s ‘Young Arab Voices’ programme.

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Cairo, 30th April 2012. A special
BBC Arabic debate was hosted today at the Arab League Headquarters, next to
Cairo’s Tahrir Square, involving the Secretary-General of the League of Arab
States, H.E. Dr Nabil El Araby, and youth from Arab societies experiencing
processes of political transition and reform. With the support of the Anna
Lindh Foundation and the British Council, the event brought together 35
representatives of the Young Arab Voices debating programme from several
countries, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco and Palestine, as
well as live inputs from youth from Syria, Yemen and Kuwait through a new media
platform.

Speaking during the debate with
the Arab youth panel, Secretary General El Araby said: “My ambition as
Secretary-General is to convince the States to introduce the reforms we need to
revitalise the Arab League and pan-Arab cooperation. In this regard, young
people have an important role to play and must already begin thinking and
debating about the next generation of regional institutions in response to the
new demands of the citizens.”

Key issues raised by the Arab
youth through the debate included: reform of the Arab League to be more
effective and play a central role on the international stage; security and the
role of the League in intervening in conflicts of the region; the role of the
League in supporting countries going through the process of democratic
transition; the voice of youth in contributing to the revitalisation of
regional institutions and the establishment of an elected Arab parliament; and
the Arab-Israeli conflict as a barrier to regional cooperation and pan-Arab
identity.

BBC Arabic moderated the debate,
which was broadcasted online to millions of people across the region and that
stimulated debate through social media with the hashtag #LASdebate. In
addition, new media group Soilya provided VoxPop videos on pan-Arab issues,
which have been filmed during the last month with youth from countries
including in Syria, Kuwait and Yemen.

The special dialogue forum has
been organised in the framework of ‘Young Arab Voices’, the joint debating
programme of the British Council and Anna Lindh Foundation, co-financed through
the UK government’s Arab Partnership Initiative. Launched amidst the Arab
uprisings of 2011, Young Arab Voices focuses on training young people in
debating and advocacy skills, and has already led to the establishment of new
debating clubs in schools, universities, cultural centres and NGOs across the
Arab region.

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