By Mohamed Lymani
By Mohamed Lymani
Ksar el-Kebir – The newly established Moroccan Youth Peace Summit (MYPS) held its first instructional camp in Sidi Sliman, from January 25 to February 1, 2015. The purpose of the camp, entitled “Together for Peace Morocco,” was to teach Moroccan youth valuable leadership and conflict resolution skills, as well as the practical application of these skills in their communities.
The camp was organized and funded by Sidi Sliman youth under the chairmanship of Julie Ann Hawke and Mostafa Essalai, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, U.S. Peace Corps, and Search for Common Ground.
The welcoming committee consisted of a representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the U.S. Peace Corps coordinators and youth from all around Morocco. The welcoming ceremony included a tea ceremony and a musical performance by Aebidat R’maa.
The MYPS ship set sail on Monday morning with Ayoub Ait Maalm, a Search for Common Ground leadership-certified coach. In his opening address he spoke about how to be a good leader. He also had the youth participate in activities to enhance communication, leadership skills, and time management strategies. The workshop’s purpose was to encourage the participants to generate ideas about leadership through their experiences, leadership abilities and communication skills, applying the principals of organization of time and hard work.
The following day, Coach Wafae Mobdie held a Conflict Resolution Workshop. She addressed a collection of methods on resolving conflict and drew from her own experiences to give realistic examples. This workshop enabled participants to learn the concept of analyzing conflicts and interacting with people that have differences of opinion, in a peaceful manner, to achieve a conflict resolution and a calm environment.
On Wednesday morning, Peace Corps Volunteer Zach Tilton and his assistant Nabil Kaafi presented a workshop on volunteerism. The participants were divided into small groups. Each worked on a separate volunteerism project and discussed how communities could benefit from volunteers. Each participant received a copy of “Volunteering guide: for effective service,” the Peace Corps’ guide on volunteerism.
Thursday brought with it the Model United Nations (MUN) event, presented by Peace Corps Volunteer Nathan Kuhn. He was assisted by a qualified group of young people from throughout Morocco. The purpose of the MUN is for the participants to gain a sense of problem-solving, strengthen their leadership skills and to contribute to providing solutions for various issues faced by the international community. The general opinion of the participants was that this event was the conference’s most impressive.
Zach Tilton later described this day: “One of the highlights of the Peace Summit was the Model United Nations. The 50 youth leaders represented 15 countries as delegates and participated in four different committees that addressed issues including but not limited to Ebola, HIV/AIDS, police brutality, the Ukrainian Conflict, Tibetan Independence, and ISIS. Delegates modified flawed resolutions and defended revised resolutions for these pressing world issues.”
On Friday morning, Peace Corps Volunteer Anooj Bahandri and his assistant Nabil Kaafi presented a diagram explaining how to develop unique ideas and to share them by using public speaking skills. Also, they presented opportunities for the participants to engage in different intellectual activities.
At 5:00pm, Friday, the Technology, Entertainment, Design independent conference (TEDx) speakers delivered inspiring stories to help the exchange of ideas from different fields, and stimulate dialogue to raise the cultural and cognitive awareness in Moroccan society.
The MYPS completed its journey with a certificate presentation ceremony. The ceremony started with recitations from the Holy Quran. Following the recitations, the participants gave performances that highlighted their individual talents. When the talent show concluded, MYPS distributed certificates and held a “tea ceremony” to honor the trainees. Afterwards, the MYPS declared the end of what had been a most wonderful and interesting adventure.
When all of the activities and ceremonies concluded, the participants thanked and showed appreciation for the efforts of the MYPS members and everything they did to develop their leadership skills, learn how to solve problems through dialogue, gain mutual understanding and communicate with others. This MYPS also reinforced the participant’s scientific and practical knowledge.
At the train station, as the participants were saying their goodbyes and preparing to return home, they gathered once more and agreed to lead Morocco towards growth and prosperity. As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
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