YaLa Young Leaders engages in peace advocacy efforts on the basis of its MENA Peace Initiative written by YaLa members from across the region and finalized in a summit held August 2012 in Berlin. A detailed and unique regional peace plan and call to action on all core issues, the initiative has been conveyed to world and regional leaders, and serves as the basis for YaLa’s advocacy efforts.
In late 2013 and early 2014, with the U.S.-led renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, YaLa-Young Leaders focused its peace advocacy efforts on a social media campaign against the opponents of peace and in support of negotiations, namely “No More Excuses! Support a Peace Agreement Now.” The Campaign highlighted that the young Middle Eastern generation is one for change, peace, economic development and social justice, and one which demands that its interests be represented at the peace table and in consequent agreements. The campaign consisted of peace activism efforts through the YaLa Facebook page, including: a collection and compilation of videos that express the peace needs and aspirations of the YaLa members from all over the MENA region; a collection of No More Excuses photos from YaLa members; and advocacy initiatives to amplify the voices of our constituency to the halls of power including the US State Department and local, national and regional leaderships.
During the Gaza War in summer 2014, the advocacy efforts of YaLa Young Leaders focused on the messages Enough and #ThereIsAnotherWay. Resisting the overwhelming reflections of bloodshed, hatred, revenge and fear overtaking social media, YaLa became more than ever an oasis of sanity and hope to which new and existing members turned for comfort, inspiration and interaction. Every day during the War, thousands saw our campaigns against violence and for peace on our Facebook page – the heart of our movement – with each week’s posts reaching an average of over 225,000 and generating engagement of over 11,000. But YaLa is much more than the numbers – through YaLa, the youth of the MENA region remind each other and the world that we are all humans; that we all fear and we all hope. In times like these, it cannot be more clear that YaLa Young Leaders is more than a networking platform for young peace activists; it is a reflection of the humanity and the future of the MENA region.
Following this, and given the evolving developments in the region, YaLa is currently developing new campaigns and advocacy initiatives.