Saturday, November 19, 2005

WSIS Feedback (1)

Where do I start!
I have so many things I’d love to share you with, but they can’t be said all at once, so I guess I’ll be posting about this experience bit by bit.
Let me start by how I actually got to the summit! As I mentioned in my last post, I was selected by the British Council in Tunis to represent Jordan in the summit. Their participation was through their initiative: “Reach Out”, which is basically a dialogue between UK and Arab youth that aims at connecting both the western and Arabic culture, in an attempt to break stereotypes, spread awareness, and work together to make a difference. The event is organized by the British Council and CholertonShand, in partnership with the WSIS Youth Caucus.

“Reach Out” started with an online forum, in which many interesting discussions took place. Based on the issues of these discussions, the supervisors of “Reach Out” highlighted the topics to be elaborately discussed during the summit in “Reach Out’s” second stage: Café Informatique Internationale, which is a video conference between “Reach Out’s” participants in Tunis and Oxford University students, following the arrival of Arab participants to Tunis.
The video conference was a tremendous success. It was stunning to find out how similar the issues of interest are in both sides! They were very open-minded, understanding, concerned and eager to help. Talking to them made us all feel the need for more emphasis on such activities through which the real identities are revealed away from manipulation and misunderstandings!
Technically speaking, the video conference ran really smooth; sound and picture were clear, and we weren’t interrupted by any connection problems, it was as if distance played no role at all! Simply fantastic!

A very nice Breakfast Reception followed the Café Informatique Internationale, giving the participants the chance to meet the UK Official delegation, senior representatives of the British Council, UK Civil Society, and members of the WSIS Youth Caucus and some other NGO’s.
We met many many interesting people, it was great to have this face-to-face contact and talk to them on various issues. They were so supportive and encouraging it was GREAT meeting them all!
I was lucky enough to be selected to throw a quick speech on behalf of the Arab participants during the reception.
After that we all went to the Youth Hub stand in the exposition hall, it was great as well, we met more people and had a very nice discussion with many people who were present in the hub.
In the middle of all this, I had my very first live Radio Interview in Tunis :) I knew nothing about it, I was enjoying listening to the “Reach Out” team’s presentations when one of my colleagues dragged me out to the journalist and recommended me to do the interview, it was nice to speak about “Reach Out” it’s success :)

The last stage of “Reach Out” was a planning of the “Reach Out” projects that will guarantee the implementation of recommended changes and suggested activities.
Which is very important, because I just hate it when all efforts are wasted because of laziness!
And I have this feeling that we will do something and will make a difference this time!
You can check out the blog that blogged live during the summit here.

I can go on forever talking about “Reach Out” but that was just a general idea of the project. So I guess I’ll stop here and will be posting more about the Reach Out Team, the participants, the people we met and some pics as well, stay tuned!
It was lovely, and I feel like introducing them all to you :)
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