Our Meshkat Community Digital Engagement Officer Tasneem was recently accepted as a candidate for the 2019 United Nations Alliance of Civilization Fellowship Program! The UNAOC was formed in 2005 for the purposes of exploring the roots of polarization between contemporary societies and cultures, and to recommend a practical vision and strategy for actionable approaches to this issue. The UNAOC identifies four priority areas of action: education, youth, migration, and media. The Alliance’s activities are build around these key themes.
The goal of the annual fellowship program is to “foster intercultural understanding by engaging with young civil society leaders from Europe, North America, the Middle East, ad North Africa.” The program takes place over a two week period of extensive travel, and fellows are provided with comprehension tools to help them “understand the plurality and the complexity of their surroundings,” and to “get an extensive grasp of their host country’s culture, politics, society, religion, and media.” As part of the program, Tasneem will travel from Amman, Jordan, to the United States, Germany, and Spain in October! The UNAOC fellowship aims to challenge perceptions and deconstruct stereotypes, empowering participants to become better “equipped to position themselves as informed stakeholders and develop cross-cultural partnerships while bridging divides between people from different faiths and cultures.” The fellowship program addresses issues related to Intercultural Dialogue, and this year, the thematic focus centers around the role of women in peacemaking and conflict prevention. This theme aligns closely with the UNAOC mandate and priorities as well as the UN Global Agenda.
We are prouder of Tasneem than words can express! Our summer intern Kate Morford, based in our Vancouver office, chatted with Tasneem in Jordan over the interwebz and asked her a few questions about her big news.
Tasneem is from Zarqa, a region slightly east of the Jordanian capital of Amman. Prior to joining the PeaceGeeks team as a Digital Engagement Officer for the Meshkat Program last year, Tasneem worked with a community-based organization called Qaf. Qaf is a non-profit organization, and the name in Arabic is an acronym of three words which translate to “leadership, excellence, and intellect.” Qaf’s projects focus on promoting a culture of dialogue and acceptance of the “other” among youth, and on channeling the energy of youth toward voluntary and community work. Qaf hosts book and film discussions, convening public dialogues and lectures, and conducting workshops. Qaf has worked with over 1,500 youth since its inception in 2017. Qaf joined Meshkat’s National Alliance in 2018, and Tasneem joined the PeaceGeeks team! Tasneem believes the intersection of art, technology, and peacebuilding is the space in which sustainable and positive social change occurs. At PeaceGeeks, Tasneem manages the digital content of the Meshkat project in Jordan, facilitating website and social media content and engagement with the online communities. Tasneem also lends a hand across all of our Meshkat initiatives, including the Peace Awards, the Artists-in-Residence program, and capacity-building workshops.
Tasneem is most looking forward to meeting new people and having her perceptions and perspectives challenged by her travel and interaction with communities in regions of the world she hasn’t yet explored. One of her goals going into the program is to write about her experiences and especially the people and communities she encounters. She is most looking forward to exploring Berlin, Germany.
“Women make up half of the world’s population,” Tasneem reflects. “It’s insane that half of the people across the planet do not have half the say when it comes to peacemaking. Women have a major and essential role to play, and they can only do so if they are empowered to contribute. Women know the meaning of loss, grief, pain, and love, and the effects of conflicts on their lives. Women have demonstrated how powerfully they can advocate for peace and social justice. The women’s peace movement in Liberia in the early 2000s played an enormous role in ending 14 years of civil war that claimed the lives of 250,000 Liberians. Those women were armed with only their faith and white t-shirts, but they were instrumental in the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of a country on the African continent."
Please join us in giving Tasneem a heartfelt congratulations! We're so thrilled for her and we can't wait to follow her along her UNAOC journey in the autumn!
Find out more about PeaceGeeks' Meshkat Community Program in Jordan here.
This article was written by PeaceGeeks staff member Lauren Hyde.