In a webinar hosted by IPI MENA on November 5th entitled “Building Youth Resilience,” young authors, filmmakers, and artists called for greater awareness of the benefits of using the arts to build peace and resilience among the Arab youth.
IPI MENA’s Director Nejib Friji and Policy Analyst, Dalya Al Alawi underlined the importance of this at a time when sentiments of hate, violence, and despair are heightened. Ms. Al Alawi highlighted the possibility of youth as being agents of peace and that schools could act as focal points to promote the culture of peace.
Reem Saleh, the Associate Director of External Relations for the Arts Center, NYU Abu Dhabi spoke about the barriers youth are facing in contributing to culture in Arab social spaces and emphasized that culture should be more tailored and aimed at the Arab youth population to foster more participation.
Tanya Shamil, an 18-year old Omani artist and filmmaker, shared the tools she used to create and disseminate her work, which helped her engage more and learn from her community and beyond.
Sara Ghannoum, the author of the “Tom Alien” series, spoke about the healing properties of reading and playing, which helps children express themselves and in turn contributes to their mental and physical wellbeing.
The two youngest panelists, Adam Kadia, author of Hakeem the Adventurer and The 17SDGs, and Yara Khazindar, a young poet, praised the platform for being a great example of how the arts can be a useful tool in building long-lasting resilience among youth.
The event concluded in a collective acknowledgment that youth are agents of peace and builders of resilience, no matter what tool they chose to accomplish this.