Mohamed Ghanem is from Peace Now’s regional office in Egypt. Here, he speaks to us about the dialogue project built around the Document of Human Fraternity, which they helped implement in partnership with Mediterranean Youth Foundation:
One of the reasons we chose to partner with the Mediterranean Youth Foundation was that one of the organization’s founding members was one of our own peace ambassadors, and it’s always so nice to see one of our ambassadors again and to see that they are running their own projects now, such as this dialogue project on the Document of Human Fraternity.
On his evaluation of the collaborative work experience:
The project targets the same age group that our organization targets, and our goal was to be able to reach an even bigger number of young people with this project. Not just youth in the capital, Cairo, who always have more opportunities in general, but young people in various governorates across the country. The Mediterranean Youth Foundation put in huge effort to recruit a group of young people who were intellectually and ideologically diverse.
On the difficulties they faced in the process of collaboration:
There were general challenges due to the overall situation in 2020. The first challenge was to do with the mechanics of implementing the project: Would it be exclusively virtual? Or will we have in-person presence on the ground and hold live workshops? To what extent do we support this project? What parts will each of the different parties be supporting? The second question was, how will this project be funded, through which parties? Which companies? It was important that everyone’s roles be transparent to everyone else on the project.
On the pros and cons of pluralist cooperation:
The most important positive was breaking stereotypes about each of the partner institutions working together on this project. For example, to have Al-Azhar working with other groups on the same project went against the general image that people had of them. On a personal level, it was quite something for me to have a workshop in Al-Azhar and to speak about diversity and difference and respect for the other there.
As for the negatives, since we all had different approaches in our ways of working, maybe it required more effort from all of us to continue working together and defining each of our roles very clearly. Because whenever you have more than one partner, you have more requirements and more approaches so it’s important that everything be clear.
On the project’s impact:
When you have an institution like Al-Azhar or like the Mediterranean Youth Foundation or others working on this project, and telling those who work on it or who are attempting to achieve something that they are helping spread the values of peace, I think this makes a huge difference.
On the project’s impact on the methodologies of their own work in the institution:
It could be said that this didn’t really change the mechanics of our work too much, but maybe a change occurred in terms of our perspective on the various partners we worked with. We are a branch of a larger organization working in this whole region, and we are always trying to work with institutions considered trustworthy and that carry social weight in the countries where we work.