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A Journey from Voice Finding to Policy Influencing

A Journey from Voice Finding to Policy Influencing

In December 2011, young Egyptian Moaaz Fawzi first joined the Young Arab Voices project, only to figure out that speaking his mind out loud is the first step on his path.

Moaaz Fawzi, a 23 years old medical student from Cairo, was at Tahrir Square in January 2011 alongside hundreds of thousands of like-minded young men and women demanding for a better future. Moaaz said “I needed, as most of the Arab youth and especially in light of recent events in the region, a platform to voice my point of view, and understand others’ point of view … and what a better way to do that than Debating”.

Moaaz joined the Young Arab Voices project, which was co-initiated by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the British Council in 2011 in response to the needs of young people across the region. The project is mainly funded by the Arab Partnership Initiative with the overall purpose to increase opportunities and skills for youth debate and dialogue in order to contribute to the building of democratic and pluralistic societies in the Arab region.

To date, the project has engaged thousands of young people directly (and thousands more online) in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria partnering with civil society organizations and the education sector.

Moaaz started his journey with Young Arab Voices (YAV) by pursuing debate training in December 2011.  After participating in several debates to sharpen his skills, Moaaz followed a social media training organized by YAV in March 2012 in the city of Asyut.

After a year of participating in many debates and cascading debate training, Moaaz became a confident debater and trainer and was therefore ready to be on the panel, among a group of four young men and women from across Egypt, to hold a dialogue with the Elders foundation in Egypt represented by president Jimmy Carter, president Mary Robinson, and Gro Harlem Brundtland. He described his feeling by saying “the day was historical… and I’m proud I was part of it, it gave us a chance to express our vision for the new Egypt we are hoping for, and the Elders gave us their advices and their experiences on building a better world”.

To read the full story of Moaatz and more on YAV, please visit: http://www.youngarabvoices.org/