by Saundra Lambertsen
“The Younger Generation” was well represented at a recent innovative conference held at Dair El Latin on Rukab St. in Ramallah, on June 19, 2013. The event, organized under the title “Future Palestine Initiative” and hosted by NEWPal, drew the attention and participation of approximately 225 young professionals who attended various workshops throughout the day. The conference mission was to discuss and explore specific steps necessary to transform Palestine into a free and prosperous state. During the course of the conference, five specialized workshops were devoted to diplomacy; economy and development; environment; education and science; communication and media presented new ways of facing our collective challenges with the leadership of distinguished speaker’s panels for each workshop. What follows is an outline of the five workshops:
Communications Workshop – Impact of official communications, training of new Palestinian communicators, and the effective use of social media.
Facilitator: Mr. Xavier Abu Eid, Communications Advisor – PLO. Panelists: Mr. Mohammad Daraghmeh, AP Correspondent, Mrs. Nour Odeh, former head of the Government Media Center – Palestine, Ms. Rania Zabaneh, Senior Producer Al-Jazeera International. Reporter: Ms. Maureen Albine, Communications Manager.
Diplomacy Workshop – United Nations statehood bid campaign, regional and international, and how to build on this effort in the future.
Facilitator: Mr. Majed Bamya, First Secretary at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Panelists: Ms. Hiba Darwish Corporate Communications Manager at PADICO, Mr. Ammar Hijazi, Counselor at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Shawan Jabarin, Director Al-Haq & Vice-President of the International Federation of Human Rights. Reporter: Dr. Sara Husseini, Communications Advisor, Palestine Negotiations support Project.
Economy & Development Workshop – Future viability of the Palestinian economy; political climate, foreign aid and Palestinian private sector influences.
Facilitator: Dr. Tareq Sadeq, Policy Member at Al-Shababka. Panelists: Dr. Hisham Awartani, Director of Palestine Governance Institute, Dr. Bassem Khoury, Former Minister National Economy. Reporter: Mr. Zackaria Sabella, Aid & Development Specialist.
Education, Scientific Research& Innovation Workshop – Issues the Palestinian education system suffers from and best approach to enhance it in the future.
Facilitator: Eng. Aref Al Hussaini, Founder of the Al-Nayak Organization. Panelists: Mrs. Hayat Anati, Senior School Principal, Eng. Ayman Arandi, Cofounder of IRIS Interactive Solutions, Osama Henani, Student & Winner of the STEP 2013 Program, DR. Sabri Saidam, President’s Advisor for IT & Vocational Education – Palestine. Reporter: Yusuf Jadallah, Student & Winner of the 2013 STEP Program.
Environment Workshop – Specific initiatives and tools which can be create and replicated for more sustainable utilization of natural resources.
Facilitator: Ms. Muna Dajani. Panelists: Ms. Danna Massad, Architect & Designer Environmental issues, Mr. Basem Masry, Chair of the Advisory Council – Green Palestine for Rural Development, Ms. Aisha Mansour, Founder of Sharaka Initiative – Food Sovereignty/economic perspective. Reporter: Ms. Ines Abdelrazik, International Cooperation for Development Project.
The NEWPal Statement of Purpose reads (in part): We, Palestinians from different political, geographic and social backgrounds, united by a common belonging to a land and a cause, have decided to come together at this historical juncture, fully aware of our generation's responsibility to pursue the struggle for freedom and dignity. These two objectives link our national struggle with movements around the globe who have decided to fight injustice under all its forms: the Arab uprisings, the Indignados Movement, the Occupy movement and others. We belong both to the Palestinian national movement and to the ideals this generation wishes to uphold throughout the globe.
We decided to create NEWPal, as a new generation of Palestinians with international experience to contribute in supporting and promoting initiatives, and in mobilizing our generation and our community at large. We aim to revive inclusive and constructive dialogue and debate within Palestinian society, as well as propose ways to develop Palestine's international relations, for what this holds of importance for the success of our national struggle.