BBC Arabic radio and online has been conducting an interactive road show of events in five locations across the Arabic-speaking countries designed to involve young people and encourage them to debate the key issues which affect their daily lives and their long-term future.
Following events in Cairo, Amman and Khartoum, ‘Your future, who decides it?’ has now launched in the West Bank with interactive booths and conversation-promoting materials at places young people meet and mingle, such as universities, shopping malls, gyms and coffee shops.
On Monday 13 March, Bir Zeit University hosts a BBC debate on Life between borders and crossing points which is broadcast live on BBC Arabic radio. Highlights of the debate will be available via video on demand on bbcarabic.com
The debate features speakers Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, politician, Sami Al Kilani, a professor at Al Najah University in Nablus, and Ali Jarbawi, the Dean of Beir Zeit University’s Faculty of Law and Public Administration.
The debate is informed by an opinion poll, commissioned by the BBC, seeking young people’s views, and will include comments prompted by the materials – emailed to bbcarabic.com and hand-written on posters around Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem.
Your future, who decides it? then heads to Damascus in Syria encouraging debate around a range of national and social issues relevant in the lives of young people: Openness to the world through economic and technological means.
Jerry Timmins, Regional Head, BBC Middle East says: “We have made several changes to the Arabic service over the past two years which make the output more accessible and appealing to younger people in the Middle East and North Africa. It is obviously right that we include amongst our long established audience the generation who will be setting the pace for social and economic development in the years ahead.
“After all, this is the generation who will increasingly expect their news provision to be multimedia, accessible and relevant on a variety of platforms 24 hours a day – something the BBC is well positioned to provide.”
Hosam El Sokkari, Head of BBC Arabic service, adds: “Across the Arabic-speaking world, young people are in the majority in terms of numbers but usually have a minority voice. Your future, who decides it? ensures we hear that voice. We are taking BBC Arabic to them – to the universities, sports clubs, shopping malls and coffee shops – so we can access their views directly. I am confident we are going to generate great content for our radio programmes and for our online site, bbcarabic.com, building relationships which will inform our output in the years ahead.”
A special micro-site on bbcarabic.com ensures Your future, who decides it? is followed by Arabic speakers across the world. It carries features on the debate themes, details the research results, includes images and audio from the interactive events and posts comments from those wishing to express their views. It also promotes a newsletter registration site, from which the debate event audiences will be invited – bbcarabic.com/future
Your future… who decides it? debates are broadcast live on BBC Arabic at 15.00 GMT. The final debate will be broadcast on 20 March from Damascus University, discussing Openness to the world through economic and technological means. Guest speakers include Abdullah Al Dardari, Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs and one of the architects of the Syrian economic reform program, and Emad Al Rifae, a business figure and member of the Chamber of Industry, BBC presenter Nur Zorgui.