Doha Debates is giving people the opportunity to share their voice in a safe space. Here, we talk to the scheme about its importance.
With a mission to seek new and collaborative solutions to global challenges through debate and civil discourse, and a vision to unite and inspire a generation to solve the world’s challenges, Doha Debates is working on building a better future.
The relaunched Doha Debates builds on the tradition of examining complex global issues, established by Doha Debates’ original launch 14 years ago, through live debates, digital videos, podcasts and educational materials on the world’s most pressing challenges.
This platform brings fresh voices into the global conversation on a multimedia platform designed to energise, invigorate, empower and inspire young people.
Sumi Alkebsi, Communications Manager at Doha Debates, in this interview over email with Youth Time shares more on this innovative approach, which includes Majlis-style conversations designed to bridge differences, build consensus and identify solutions to urgent global issues.
If you are wondering what’s the meaning of Majlis, then keep reading because this is just one of the many things you will learn from her in this piece.
Alkebsi also introduces us to their new initiative – the Doha Debates Ambassador Program, an opportunity for students and other young people around the world.
For Young People, Inspired by Young People
In the beginning of our conversation, she recalls they originally formed Doha Debates around the idea of the Majlis, which gets at the civil discourse and debate you mention.
“In the Arab world, a Majlis is a meeting ground or forum to openly discuss personal or community issues.
“We encourage and listen to different perspectives, question them and look for points of consensus that can lay the foundation for practical solutions.”
She attributes the inspiration to young people.
“We are so inspired by young people today – the urgency they feel about big global issues, the conversations they’re having with each other and with lawmakers and the actions they’re taking.” Alkebsi says.
She further asserts that at Doha Debates, they are always looking for new voices and new perspectives, whether it’s for their debates, virtual discussion show #DearWorldLive, the Course Correction podcast or digital videos.
“Doha Debates aims to be different – respectful yet challenging. We believe we all have a stake in our future, and our work is never done.”
Nevertheless, Alkebsi goes on, when Doha Debates relaunched, they knew they had a lot of opportunities and challenges ahead — and that was before the pandemic created a global economic and public health crisis, exacerbating old problems and creating new ones.
“We are constantly finding new ways to engage and equip young people with what they need to understand and address some of the biggest problems facing their generation: the climate crisis, inequalities between the global north and global south, race and gender inequalities, and more.”
Our world might be polarised, but Doha Debates aims to give its audience the tools to make it better and build a better future.
“We have to learn to listen and act together,” Alkebsi believes.
Doha Debates’ Initiatives
In line with this, Doha Debates has a product contributing to tackle very important issues nowadays- the Course Correction podcast, which is currently in its second season.
In the second season, the host, Afghan British journalist Nelufar Hedayat, challenges herself to speak with people she disagrees with, from a physician who believes that lockdowns are not an effective way of managing the spread of the coronavirus to an internet troll who created ‘fake news’ stories that manipulated millions of people before the U.S. presidential election.
“Along the way, she learns a lot about listening to other people’s points of view, disagreeing and making your point with respect and trying to bridge differences.”
This is just one way Doha Debates empowers their audience to create a better world.
In addition, since 2019, it has held 10 live marquee debates on subjects like the global refugee crisis, gender inequality, capitalism and artificial intelligence.
“We feature young activists, students, political leaders, humanitarian workers and other change-makers from around the world.
“Speakers have joined our show from Brazil, South Africa, Luxembourg, India, Bangladesh, Greece and the United Kingdom, among other nations.”
Please visit DohaDebates.com, where you can watch all their content.
Another great youth engagement program for young change-makers all over the world was just launched.
The Doha Debates Ambassador Program is a new initiative for students and other young people around the world.
“The inaugural class of ambassadors will comprise 30 to 40 people who have the drive and the intellectual curiosity to take on some of the world’s biggest problems.
“They’ll be from diverse backgrounds and from all over the world, all committed to the exploration and growth necessary to apply global knowledge to local solutions.”
The Doha Debates Ambassador Program is a first-of-its-kind experience that will empower and equip the next generation of change-makers.
For eight weeks, the ambassadors will connect with each other and with experts and community.
“By the end of the program, the ambassadors will have completed a collaborative project, took part in Doha Debates productions and been empowered and trained to bring positive, solutions-focused change to their home communities.”
Excited about this program, she invites people between the ages of 17-24 to apply on Doha Debates website by June 11, 2021.
“It’s a great opportunity for young people to extend beyond their local community and cultivate relationships with fellow future global leaders from around the world.”
Follow the Platform Inspiring Young People
Participants in Doha Debates’ various activities have the great opportunity to talk about the many challenges and issues they face, including racial injustice, gender inequality, the impact of the coronavirus and many more topics.
Doha Debates brings fresh voices into the global conversation on a multimedia platform designed to energise, invigorate, empower and inspire young people.
From Doha to Africa, fighting hard against tough challenges.
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