With the amount of depressing news we see in the MENA region, one would think the media would jump at a change of moods and perhaps focus on a good story here and there, however, the media remains fixated on misery which only encourages misunderstandings and ignorance.
For example, leave Libya for one of the other countries and you will be shocked by the expectations of people, it turns out that the excessive broadcasting of all things ISIS related in Libya has given off the impression that that is all that Libya has become, a breeding ground for a thriving terrorist organization. Mention anything close to normal and you will be faced with a quizzical expression and a shocked cry of disbelief. Shows how little we know of our countries, partially due to media, and to our own lack of interest to what is going on in the region while any one can answer your questions about the US elections anytime or day!
What would help alleviate such misconceptions would in fact be balanced media, which yes is the thing of dreams, which is why so many people have taken this into their own hands with use of social networks, blogging, and youtube, we now make the news.
One thing that did not receive its fair share of coverage was in fact the Maghreb Youth Forum 2521, a conference/workshop that was held in Sousse, Tunisia, held with the main objective of strengthening ties between youth in civic society and improving student mobility between the greater Maghreb countries of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania.
3 days that just taught me so much about the region, young people from the region, and Libya its self, I even had the honor of meeting some of the brightest young people in Libya and I couldn’t have been more proud of all of their achievements and I hope to see a day where they can really get the praise and appreciation which they deserve.
Many things became apparent to me during the forum, one of them was we can all certainly benefit from student exchange across the region which would perhaps be more financially affordable and even contribute to developing the ties between our countries. Another realization was that we couldn’t afford to wait for our education ministries to get on it, as was revealed to us by the education minister of Tunisia, Agreements have been made, contracts signed, yet nothing was achieved between Libya and Tunisia, However, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco seem to have a small yet functioning governmental exchange between their public universities which is certainly optimistic.
What was the outcome of such a forum? Well, we managed to in 3 days to develop the mechanics of a theory which can facilitate student mobility, and we now have the contacts which may help achieve that. Personally, I got the opportunity to meet organizations in the region and their members and I hope that with this experience, knowledge, and help of people I have met to be able to make AIESEC Libya a reality.