Yala Young Leaders: The Middle East and North Africa’s broadest and fastest-growing peace movement

YaLa Young Leaders is non-political online movement dedicated to empowering young leaders from the Middle East and Africa, to lead their generation to a better and more peaceful future. Inspired by the Tahrir and Yasmin revolutions, protests across the Arab world, and social justice protests in Israel, YaLa is a movement for young people, by young people, forging pathways for cooperation between Arab and Israeli young leaders. Founded in 2011, by the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, the movement fosters dialogue and social change through innovative online and in-person training. With nearly 1 Million members and over 2,000 alumni from over 20 countries, it is the broadest and fastest-growing Middle East peace movement to date.

 

peace

 

THE MISSION

YaLa‘s mission is to create and enact new regional visions of freedom, equality, prosperity and peace. More than a simple network of activists scattered across the region, YaLa is a movement diminishing divisions and “redrawing the map” to form a shared community. YaLa connects regional change-makers, allowing each to build their capacity as a future leader, whilst emphasizing core issues such as peace, human rights, gender equality, higher education and economic development through training, online advocacy campaigns and other activities.

 

PROJECTS & INITIATIVES

The Aileen Getty School of Citizen JournalismThis is the only online program in the world bringing together Israeli, Arab and African youth to form “future leadership” for the regions through training and dialogue. The school offers a “one-of-a-kind” online training program to build their capacity to narrate unique stories and to express themselves on issues critical to their communities. Every year, 500 participants aged between 17-36 years old graduate from the academy; which holds an impressive average retention rate of 75% This innovative peace-building program is creating a network of tech-savvy citizen journalists who engage in gripping cross-border dialogue.

 

conflict resolution

 

YaLa Press and YaLa Africa Press are YaLa‘s citizen journalism platforms and they serve as outlets for the voices of youth in the Middle East and Africa. They bring to the fore relatable, personal experiences and complex realities often neglected or misunderstood by mainstream media coverage through blogs, videos and photography.

 

yala africa logoYaLa Africa is YaLa’s sister movement, dedicated to the empowerment of the continent’s youth. It is the largest Pan-African online movement to date. YaLa Africa was founded in 2013 and has 160,000 members from over 25 African nations. It provides a platform for cooperation, empowerment, and dialogue on issues faced by African youth; such as HIV/AIDS, gender equality, economic development, and cultural expression. Through this regional collaboration, and shaped by their drive, education and creativity, Africans are increasingly better equipped to deal with the challenges facing the continent.

 

YaLa Regional Conferences. For the period of 2017-2019 YaLa‘s conferences are hosted in Jordan (November 2017, February 2018 and February 2019) with the aim of empowering and forging more durable ties among alumni and current students of the Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism. This is achieved by bringing them “face-to-face” with their peers and imparting additional skills and guiding them through structured learning and practical working sessions with expert journalists and peace activists.

Nobantu Modise- the diplo-sphere- yala regional conference jordan (2)
Participants at YaLa Alumni Conference (November 2017) in Amman, Jordan. Image:Nobantu Modise

 

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS
Department of State of the United States Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia Woodrow Wilson International Centre
European Union Brand Knew The Akilah Institute
Foreign Ministry of Italy Clinton Global Initiative Shaker
Foreign Ministry of Norway Coursera Institute Paul Bocuse
Foreign Ministry of Canada Facebook U.S. Institute of Peace
The Eileen Getty Foundation FC Barcelona Vanderbilt University
The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) University of Massachusetts-Boston
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy Harvard University Microsoft
The Enel Foundation Princeton University

 

“I think YaLa is a great movement. An important one because finally peace will

be built by people, more than by governments…In the Middle East, there are 400

million people. 60% of them are below the age of 25 – this is the audience of

hope. It depends [on] you to lead the peace.”

-Shimon Peres, Ninth President of Israel

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