Waleed Kamal

Produced by: Sharq.Org
Part of the Curated Collection: Multi-ethnic and -religious cooperation,
Original Interview Length:
Interview Location: Turkey
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Waleed Kamal is a staff member at the Success House of Yemen, which implemented a project, in partnership with the Citizenship Center in Jordan, entitled Citizenship and Diversity Management. Here, he reflects on the collaboration between them:

The experience of working together was a rich and distinctive one, and we opened up new dimensions in our work with those in charge of this institution. Despite some major differences in geography and identity, we were able to establish excellent links and bonds. From a social perspective, to be honest we didn’t really face any notable difficulties, and this is due to several factors, one of them being that we had prior knowledge and experience in project implementation. But there were some small difficulties from an institutional angle, mostly to do with the logistics of our communication and time differences. There were also some points to do with the question of funding. But during the implementation phase of previous projects, we had no problems whatsoever, and this is maybe because we implemented the program online through Google, which made things easier.

He goes on to talk about the positives and negatives they faced:

In terms of the positives, our dealings, cooperation, partnerships, and exchange of activities and projects with culturally and religiously diverse collaborators and institutions enriches our knowledge of diversity and introduces us to new understandings, backgrounds, and tools. We aren’t alone in this region; we share this place with those from various other cultures and identities, and we must coexist positively together. The problem we noticed as we worked on introductions for all the participants was that many of them considered the question of coexisting and interacting with those who have different religious or ethnic backgrounds to be a simple and easy matter. Why? Because the people we were working with were extremely progressive and had the necessary tools for training. And so the participants felt they could deal with every individual in the society in this way, and forgetting for a minute that they came from a community riddled with complexes, especially when it comes to religion. Some could totally transcend the issue of geographical difference, but then if they were receiving information from someone with a different religious background, or from an atheist, they would retreat into extremist reactions.

On the direct relationship between the Success House of Yemen and is supporting institutions:

When the civil society organization providing the training has a venerable history, people are much more accepting of the ideas it proposes. But for us, as trainees in this program, we all come from university backgrounds and are committed to critical thinking, so it wasn’t such a big deal for us.

On how the Success House’s working methodologies will change after this collaborative experience with international and Arab institutions of diverse cultural origins:

The Success House of Yemen is fundamentally an organization open and accepting of the other. This is in huge part due to the fact that the young people who established this organization come from many different intellectual, educational, and geographical backgrounds. And so, dealing with the other is an essential cornerstone of our work, which is why these projects we’ve implemented just serve to reinforce the philosophy already being practiced here.