The YaLa-Young Leaders online peace movement has over 420,000 members throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, Tunisia, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria and Yemen.
YaLa’s Israeli-Arab Peace Institute, to be launched in the beginning of 2014, will be the first of its kind: an online academy where Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs from across the region can take online courses facilitated by peace practitioners from South Africa, Rwanda, Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East and the United States.
Lecturers and peace practitioners will include Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, Paul Russesasbinga (Hotel Rwanda), Abu Ala, and Uri Savir.
YaLa-Young Leaders Cultural Chair Sharon Stone challenges the young generation of the Middle East to “Go Ahead! Go out there, be a peace activist, I dare you! Check out our peace academy, where you can learn about peace negotiations, have advancement in your own personal education, and through this education achieve personal growth, and a greater sense of wellbeing.”
YaLa-Young Leaders’ belief is that in order to achieve peace, people from across the region must actively engage in ongoing dialogue. YaLa provides this platform, and is actively supporting the efforts of United States Secretary of State John Kerry to advance the peace process.
Sharon Stone: “We started YaLa because I feel that when we go online we show everyone that we can erase borders, and that everyone’s pretty much the same. When we go online and we show everyone here’s my mom, here’s my food, here’s my town, here’s my life, then we erase borders.”
YaLa-Young Leaders’ crowdfunding campaign is hosted on a joint Israeli-Palestinian platform, Headstart + Sawa. YaLa-Young Leaders was created by YaLa Palestine and The Peres Center for Peace.