UNESCO brings hope to youth in troubled Tripoli in Northern Lebanon
Bab Al Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen are two districts of Tripoli- North of Lebanon, that have been for decades victims of extreme poverty; illiteracy; unemployment; environmental degradation; and recently are witnessing repetitive armed conflict and violence, as a result of increased fanaticism and sectarian tensions.
The Culture Unit at the UNESCO Office in Beirut faced the challenge over the past 9 months and succeeded, by bringing peace and hope for the youth in Tripoli, by teaching them how to work together, resolve difference through dialogue and discussion rather than conflict.
This is being done through the UNESCO project "Towards a Culture of Co-existence Among Youth in Tripoli." To this effect, UNESCO Beirut in cooperation with the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO organized a series of work shops in Tripoli for a group of youth composed of 40 young men and women (15-17 years of age) and brought them together, trained them on expression through art, they learnt about their shared heritage and history of their city.
They also were trained on theatrical expression and acting and they organized a play that depicted their situation, their sorrow and misery based on script they devised for this occasion, despite the challenges and the deteriorating security situation throughout their four months of preparations. Their art was exhibited at the Safadi Cultural Center in Tripoli which also hosted the play as part of the closing ceremony of the project that was held on Friday September 20, 2013 under the patronage of the Lebanese Minster of Education. The play was very emotional, powerful in its impact as they came up with its script and it described their daily worries, fears, suffering and showed how they used to feel and behave towards one another before UNESCO brought them together. Now this group of young people are friends, after they felt alienated from one another despite living in the same neighborhood as they got to know one another, worked together for months and now they all have different feelings about each other, more tolerance, better communication skills, and a culture of dialogue that has spread among them. We hope that this is contagious and many of their friends at school after hearing about this project, are eager to join in future workshops, UNESCO Beirut hopes to be able to establish a culture of co-existence and dialogue among youth in Tripoli.
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