Youssef Aroog

Produced by: Sharq.Org
Part of the Curated Collection: Multi-ethnic and -religious cooperation,
Original Interview Length:
Interview Location: Egypt
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Youssef Aroog, from the Mediterranean Youth Foundation for Development, talks about the fraternity document project they worked on in partnership with a number of other organizations. He begins by introducing the project:

We see the project as a sort of constitution for humanity, capable of transforming our societies into peaceful ones, which will be able to thrive despite their differences and the differences among citizens. Its general aim is to make Arab youth in Egypt aware of the Document on Human Fraternity and to look at ways they might be able to participate in realizing its goals as well as promoting it.

As for the collaboration with their partners in implementing the project;

The fact that this project was implemented in partnership with some major institutions, including KAICIID, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Peace First, and other international partners, reflects the fact that one of its goals is sustainable development. As institutions, we are all made up of individuals capable of working together with respect and harmony, allocating roles according to each institution’s proficiencies, internal politics, and other factors. So if we were able to work together, this means that we are naturally able to also live together, despite our differences in opinion, in belonging, in orientation, in the colors of our skin, our names, genders, ages, or any other difference. The most important thing is our ability to live together in the future.

On the role of partners in implementing the project:

In order to succeed, this project requires media support, it requires financial support, artistic support. It requires content and trainers. So, the choice of partners was based on these requirements. For example, the United Nations helped us, through its Peace-building Program, present the content that was used in the workshops. Peace First offered a small amount of financial support to fund the youth initiatives, and the Al-Azhar offered logistical support and legal support extended through an official national body here in Egypt.

On the pros and cons:

Honestly neither I nor anyone else on the working team felt that there were any negatives. Even if there were any, they were so small as to be negligible in the face of the positives that you always get from working with a team who come from different backgrounds and who have different areas of expertise. This enriches the project and gives it additional value, something new. Each party has its own expertise and good practices in implementing something that another institution is trying to make happen. Peace First, for instance, shared with us an example of how to turn ideas into initiatives, while the United Nations provided us with the latest studies and statistics that would allow us to present our content in the most flexible and seamless manner to our participants.

On the impression left by the project about the experience of collaborative work:

The impact this project had on me personally was what I saw in terms of the impressions and reflections it left on the young people who participated. When I look them up on google and see them saying, this project helped me in this way, or this project opened that door for me, or inspired me to write this article, or inspired me to embark on this initiative of my own.