Foreign Ministry's Salam Peace Project promotes media skills and networking among young people
Launched by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Salam project that promotes peace and reconciliation brought together young people interested in social influence. During the autumn, workshops were organised for young people to discuss peace building and the means of communication to promote reconciliation. For Iraqis, a workshop was organised in Erbil while in Afghanistan young people gathered in Kabul.
The majority, about 60 per cent of the Iraqi and Afghan population are under 25 years of age. Shakiba Adil, who led the Afghan workshop, stresses the importance of active young people for a well-functioning and evolving society. According to Adil, the young people who participated in the project have a lot to offer to the country's future.
“Afghanistan's young people do not necessarily have the power to make major political decisions on war and peace, but they have all the more willingness and potential to promote the positive development of their own daily lives and communities. The future of the country depends on such motivated young people,” Adil says.
Eleven young men and women attended a three-day workshop in Iraq, eight in Afghanistan. The participants, or peace ambassadors, were selected on the basis of on-line applications. In Iraq in particular, the project attracted a great deal of interest: a total of 1,100 applications were received. This indicates the need for and the importance of the objectives of this kind of work in the minds of young people.
The Salam programme encourages young people and provides them with tools and skills for media influence and mediation, for example. The project also provides young people with an opportunity to learn to know and network with Iraqi, Afghan and Finnish actors.
“In workshops, young people who came from different parts of the country and from different life situations, ethnic and religious backgrounds, recognised the same pain points that are shared by all young people, such as unemployment, lack of prospects and on-line bullying,” says Mustafa Abdulameer, the producer coordinating the Iraqi project.
Young people were able to make video films of themes that are important to them. They not only raised problems but also proposed solutions. Videos and the project’s progress can be viewed on Facebook on the Salam for Peace website. Creative agency Måndag is carrying out the project for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with Iraqi and Afghan youth organisations.
Rim Mezian, Communications Coordinator, Unit for Communications on Current Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 905
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