Across the Middle East and North Africa, many and diverse actors are working to promote listening and greater understanding between groups in an effort to alleviate inter-communal tensions that exist due to social, economic and political factors.
Rising unemployment rates, in particular among youth and women, have led to increased competition over livelihood opportunities. Dwindling natural resources due to climate change and overconsumption caused by population increases have led to further conflicts in the region, especially over water.
Young people feel disenfranchised as a result of political instability and their continued exclusion from decision making. Marginalised communities, including those living in less developed areas (often far from high-density population centres) and ethnic or religious minorities are underrepresented in their local government institutions and their interests not prioritised by decision makers.
These tensions and divisions have been further compounded by social media and online spaces. While allowing people across the globe to connect, discover their similarities and share their peacebuilding experiences, these online spaces have also at times emboldened, reinforced and sometimes helped promote the marginalisation of certain groups.
To stem conflict in the region and ensure peace and prosperity, genuine dialogue among and between communities, between political parties and within regional and global multilateral bodies is greatly needed.
In this webinar, actors working in the MENA region, including contributors to the Dialogue in Peacebuilding: Understanding Different Perspectives publication, shared their experiences in promoting dialogue, as well as reflections on what is needed to strengthen dialogue in the region.
What are examples of dialogue serving to increase inclusion of underserved communities and connect them to decision makers? How are diverse groups, including women, youth, ethnic and religious minorities contributing to dialogue in their communities and what barriers to engagement do they face? What role does the international community have in supporting local and regional dialogue efforts? What online and offline methods can be used to advance inclusive dialogue?
Two-way interpretation between Arabic and English was provided.
This event was held in co-operation with EcoPeace MiddleEast.