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PeaceGeeks Jordan team member named a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellow!

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.

May 7, 2019

PeaceTalks #30: Sustainable Development Goals - Realistic or Idealistic?

Guest Speaker:
Mike Simpson, Nikunj Soni
Feb 3, 2016
6:00 8:30pm
HiVE Vancouver

Near the end of 2015, the United Nations announced "a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity."

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

" to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve.
They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental."

Join PeaceGeeks and Amnesty International for PeaceTalks #30: Sustainable Development Goals - Realistic or Idealistic? at the HiVE on February 3!

With our expert speakers, this discussion will explore:

- What, exactly, are the SDGs?
- How do they differ from the Millenium Development Goals proposed in 2000 and are they any more likely to succeed?
- What is the potential value of the SDGs and what are the pitfalls?

Our featured speakers are Mike Simpson of the BC Council for International Cooperation, Nikunj Soni, who works for the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and Shannon Kildornay of the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. The discussion will be moderated by Peter Wood of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Reserve your space to guarantee seating.

Jan 12, 2016
Category: PeaceTalks
Time 2:
6 PM to 8 PM

Local Group Works for Peace in Conflict-Ridden South Sudan

Every two minutes another child becomes severely malnourished as a result of the conflict in South Sudan, according to the United Nations. The organization has estimated that 2.25 million people have been displaced by the conflict in South Sudan, half of whom are children.

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) has been working at the local level to mitigate the situation and quell the violence.

One of CEPO’s approaches to reduce violence is to research factors that may trigger violent conflict between communities.

“CEPO also do conduct risk awareness and share knowledge of likely risks that the communities will face,” CEPO spokesperson James Bidal explained. “CEPO has the capacity to analyze, anticipate, and monitor the political will to respond to the divers of conflict.”

By mapping factors that may trigger violence, such as cattle raids, land grabs and competition over resources, and reporting them to stakeholders, CEPO has been working to keep the peace among neighbouring communities.

As South Sudan continues to move through the peace process, CEPO has also been working to assist the development of democracy. The group has been educating and engaging both citizens and political parties to facilitate dialogue between the two, in the hope of expediting the process.

According to Bidal, CEPO has been “organizing civil society and political parties dialogues on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development-led peace mediation process.” Initiatives have included ‘Walk for Peace’ and public debates on the peace process.

Unfortunately, recent developments threaten to stall progress, including a decree by President Salva Kiir that would create 18 new states and news of the ruling party’s dissolution of its leadership secretariat. President Kiir remains chairman and is planning to appoint new leadership soon.

As the process moves forward, CEPO has been on the ground demonstrating the importance of civil peace-builders and uniting the groups and organizations that will be able to ensure safety and security for South Sudan citizens.

CEPO strives to “mobilize all civil society organizations, faith based organizations, pressure groups, interest groups, political parties, [and] the South Sudanese people to have a common position and pressurize IGAD, AU, EU, Trorika, UN and the international community to accept an inclusive strategy of reaching peace and impose on the warring parties.”

Media reports as of October 19 indicate South Sudanese residents may soon see peace in their country as the rival parties have agreed to resume talks regarding security arrangements.

Whenever peace comes to the country it will be up to citizens and groups like CEPO to help it succeed in the cities and towns in South Sudan.

For more information on CEPO visit their website.

Oct 26, 2015
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