Youth forum to urge reconciliation in Bahrain
Manama, February 1, 2012
A major conference funded and organised "by the youth for the youth" that aims to heal community divisions and encourage national reconciliation will take place in Bahrain this weekend.
The 'Bahrain Debate' aims to generate discussion, share ideas and understand opinions on all sides as tensions persist following last year's unrest.
It will offer a platform for people of all political persuasions to speak their mind on the political, economic and social challenges facing the country.
The organisers, consisting of Eyad Ebrahim, Ehsan Al Kooheji, Manaf Al Muhandis, Mohammed Al Daaysi, Bader Kamal and Jaffar Al Alawi, will hold the event on Saturday from 10am at the Alumni Club, Adliya.
It is being independently funded and has no affiliation with any political society or the government. However, the event has been approved by the Information Affairs Authority.
"In light of what has happened in Bahrain, people need to express themselves in a constructive way and listen to others' views," said Al Kooheji. "Our aim is to bring people together to listen and understand each other. The youth are the country's future because they have the power to change things. They are extremely dynamic and energetic, but have felt that they don't have a platform to express their opinions."
Al Kooheji said the four-hour event was a pilot session and could be followed by other projects in future.
He said that Bahrain's youth could no longer wait for leaders on both sides of the divide to solve problems and were ready to take matters into their own hands using intellect and understanding.
"Our aim is to come up with realistic and achievable solutions and initiatives to help Bahrain instead of waiting forever for others to do it," he said.
"At least we will do what we can and maybe this could be one step closer to a solution. This is not about who will win or lose the debate. It is about listening to and accepting different opinions, which is what Bahrain needs at the moment. I want to tell Bahrain's youth to remain hopeful."
Al Kooheji also revealed plans to stream the event live on the Internet, but said organisers were still looking into the logistics.
The debate will include four sessions starting with a speech/feedback session entitled My Voice, which will give each speaker four minutes to talk openly about any topic, followed by comments from the audience.
It will not include back and forth discussions, but will focus on sharing and accepting different opinions, said organisers.
The 10 speakers will then begin an open debate on three main themes: Our Rights: Human Rights in Bahrain, Our Society: Fixing our Social Fabric and Economy, and Our Future: Ideas to Move Forward as a Nation.
They will be moderated by Al Muhandis, who is a BDO Bahrain senior consultant and Aspire Logistics Qatar human resources and administration manager.
He is also a former mentor for the Crown Prince's Scholarship Programme and an active blogger.
The moderator will push discussions forward within the specified topics and focus on creating constructive feedback and realistic solutions.
The initiative has received overwhelming support after it created an official Twitter account, @BahrainDebate, yesterday and attracted more than 500 followers within 12 hours of its launch.
It has also gathered 30 volunteers, who will assist organisers with preparations for the event.
The conference was yesterday backed by Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society secretary-general Faisal Fulad. – TradeArabia News Service