Could youth utilize creativity and entrepreneurship to express themselves via writing, theater, and painting? Are there any creative and entrepreneurial institutions that could help them voice their concerns? Is it on them to create such channels? Additionally, how do we promote youth’s participation in public, economic, cultural, political, and civic arenas?
These questions were at the heart of the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)’s cultural session. Held on Thursday 28th April, in Maqha Al-Nahda – located between the first and second circle- the session was attended by Al-Nahda Youth Network members and from the “Design and Determine” project interns and graduates. The session aimed to introduce the youth to the creative and entrepreneurial cases in a dialogue with Journalist Hiba Jouhar, Caricaturist Omar Al Abdullat, and Theatre producer and artist Ahmad Srour.
The session discussed the importance of media and art and their positive role in society as well as promoting social cohesion.
Kicking off the discussion, Hiba Jouhar expressed the importance of social media for youth in delivering their messages via text, pictures, and videos. She also stressed the importance of journalistic work ethics for factual and purposeful content.
She explained how article-writing is not an easy task, but rather one that requires knowledge and a profound understanding of the context. She reminded the youth of the value of knowledge to deliver their demands and desires to decision-makers with transparency and impartiality.
Omar Al Abdullat explained how a caricaturist’s job is not limited to creative drawing but expands to include the delivery of ideas to people and impacting them. He stressed that a true artist is one whose art speaks to people’s suffering and daily life.
Speaking about his entrepreneurial project, “The Free Pencil”, Al Abdullat said: “The project has a website for caricatures and a series of educational episodes. It allows people to present various characters via art and online applications and offers caricature-drawing training sessions.”
Ahmad Srour spoke of acting and theatre and the significance of acting with passion and love, and that with a genuine message, it is no less than other forms of media and literary arts.
Despite the challenges restricting the art movement in Jordan and weakening its production power, Ahmad Srour managed to present his creative production in innovative ways. His latest product was the “Taboo” play, for which he offered the audience the choice to pay any amount between 1 and 50 JoD.
Noora Al-Hussien, a graduate of the “Design and Determine” project in the area of hospitality, said: “Art is not the magic wand to our youth’s issues, but it is a way to deliver their demands.”
Marwa Raed, another graduate of the “Design and Determine” project in the area of sewing, believes significant hardships are facing young creatives in transforming cultural and artistic ideas into profitable projects, which calls for the support of governmental and non-governmental institutions.
Abd Allah Saa’d, a member of AlNahda Youth, calls for more dialogue with youth and the support to develop their knowledge and creative tools and the employment of them for the improvement of society.
Reem Hamdan, a member of AlNahda Youth, stressed the importance of involving youth in the decision-making and leadership of various institutions, especially with the generation’s ability to prove itself in numerous areas.
Discussions around promoting youth’s talents and capacities to help them express themselves and overcome challenges are essential. There is a need for collective efforts by all private, state, and non-state institutions to open up the horizon in front of the youth.
The session was part of the comprehensive approach of the “Design and Determine” project aiming at developing youth’s economic, cultural, and social capacities. Over a group Iftar in Ramadan in Maqha AlNahda, youth and ARDD met to promote teamwork. Maqha AlNahda was established through a partnership between ARDD and the private sector aiming at the creation of decent employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
The “Design and Determine” project is funded by the European Regional Development and Protection Program (RDPP II) for Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, which is supported by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland and Switzerland.