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The untold story of an inspired Gaza youth leader

“The world used to think that Gaza knows nothing about life except the mass killings and destruction that it witnesses, but I wanted to show the opposite ,” Maysara Al-Arabeed explained.

In an interview with local Gaza media (Safa Press) on Friday evening, Arabeed thanked all his friends and people who had supported him in preparing and publishing the video on a large scale.


He said that he had made the film for the competition in June and that it had received the highest views on YouTube, adding that he had intended it for the West. “The competition committee set conditions that the stories submitted must be creative, no more than 4 minutes, in English and be accepted by the judges,” he added.

Arabeed received an invitation to attend the winning celebration ceremony, held in the Finnish capital of Helsinki in early November.

However, unable to attend due to his studies, an MA in social media and entrepreneurship at the University of Birmingham, he recorded a speech, which will be aired at the ceremony that if going to be attended by a large turnout of young people from around the world.

Arabeed did not regret not appearing at the ceremony since he had “given the message behind his film to the world.” He said he was delighted by the news that “French solidarity activists had recently translated the film into French and published it across social media.”

Palestine’s Ambassador at One Young World Summit

The Gazan youth leader Arabeed, represented Palestine at One Young World Summit 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier this month.

Thousands from around the world flocked to the three-day summit, the second biggest youth gathering after the Olympic Games. This year’s gathering aimed to connect and inspire young leaders from around the world.

The summit facilitated by high profile counselors, from politicians to activists, and CEOs to UN representatives and models to chefs. They advise, inspire and celebrate the achievements of the forum’s young ambassadors.

Arabeed, as Palestine’s youth ambassador, submitted an initiative to solve unemployment across the Palestinian territories, which according to Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) is at 31per cent in the Gaza Strip and 20.3 per cent in the West Bank.

One Young World is a not-for-profit organization which provides opportunities for young adults to join in a global network of socially committed individuals with leadership potential.

Its primary activity is an annual One Young World Summit which brings together the world youth’s brightest and best to ensure that their concerns, opinions and solutions are heard.

The annual summit is for international youths who meet certain criteria, they must be 18 to 30 years old and have demonstrated leadership potential, teamwork, concern for global issues and a track record of volunteer activity.

Speaking at the plenary session on leadership and governance gave six young people to offer solutions to some of the challenges they face at home, Arabeed introduced himself:

“I live in the occupied territory of Palestine, having grown up in a refugee camp,” Arabeed was so traumatised because of the conflict in Gaza, that at the age of 12 he lost the ability to speak. After three years of struggling, he has overcome this and told the conference how proud he was to be able to speak to a room of 1300 people from 190 countries. He is now working to develop young leaders within Palestine, teaching social media skills and creating academic partnerships between the UK and Palestine to discuss ideas for improving access to human rights and justice. In his own words Arabeed said he was “turning tragedy into positive action”.

A link to the short film submitted by Maysara Al-Arabeed, here

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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