YaLa-Young Leaders representatives from accross the region gathered in Berlin for a Summit, which was developed in partnership with the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, to explore, discuss and create an initiative outline for the future of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, based on YaLa’s Agenda for the Future, whose development had begun by YaLa’s steering committee at YaLa’s First Online Peace and Economic Cooperation Conference in January 2012. The aim of the initiative is to create a new vision of peace and cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the political, social and economic realms, through the leadership and empowerment of the young generation. The Initiative promotes issues including regional peace (with an emphasis on peace between Palestine and Israel), good governance, human rights & equality, empowerment of youth and women, economic development, education, cultural diplomacy, and relations between government, civil society, and private sector institutions. In addition, the initiative aims to create and fund collaborative youth-directed projects in cooperation with international public and private sectors and regional civil society groups.

The YaLa-Young Leaders  Berlin Peace Summit Concluding Statement

Over the course of two intense days we, 18 young leaders from across the Middle East & North Africa, members of the YaLa-Young Leaders Movement and its Steering Committee, have deliberated and devised the course to be taken by the YaLa movement from hereon. Coming from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq & Kuwait, and including an international observer, we have done so with the intention of serving and empowering the expression of the needs and voices of the 165,000 YaLa members from across the Middle East & North Africa, taking into consideration the specific circumstances of all the peoples of the region making up our membership, to whom we dedicate our efforts and actions. Throughout the summit we have been updating the YaLa community, with our updates being viewed by an audience of 570,000 people.

The Summit embodied the diversity, dedication and creativity of the YaLa-Young Leaders movement geared to participatory and collaborative processes for generating cross-regional answers to issues faced by young people in the region, processes in which we aim to engage our membership of 165,000, bridging the gaps between the peoples of the region, in particular the rift between Arabs and Israelis. We believe that such collaborative efforts are the path towards enabling the young generation to take a leading role in shaping the Middle East and North Africa, building upon the vibrant and dynamic energies which propelled the Arab Spring and the Israeli movement for Social Justice – a role we must take to ensure our futures and those of future generations.

We have composed a detailed and pioneering initiative for the future of the young generation in the Middle East & North Africa, the YaLa MENA Initiative for peace and economic cooperation. The first peace initiative of its kind formulated by the young generation and aimed at expressing their needs and concerns, and offering an alternative trajectory which provides hope in place of despair, change in place of reaction, security in place of fear, freedom in place of oppression, equality in place of inequality, prosperity in the place of poverty and peace in the place of war and terror.

We believe that it is within the power of the young generation of the Middle East & North Africa to propel the region towards an altogether more hopeful future. Throughout our guiding light is and has been a combination of our values as a movement, and our undying belief in the young generation of the Middle East & North Africa and its untapped power to lead the region to peace and prosperity. It is this combination which compels us as a movement to hold steadfast to our principles and say “We Shall Overcome.”

Click here to read the full YaLa MENA Initiative.