Middle East Youth Leadership Jam 2012
Date: Sun, 2012-10-14 - Sun, 2012-10-21
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Location: Jordan
5th Middle East Youth Leadership Jam
October 14-21, 2012, Wadi Rum, Jordan
It is our honor to invite you to apply to participate in a unique gathering: the Middle East Youth Leadership Jam! This Jam will connect 30 diverse, engaged and committed leaders from around the region, for a week of deep listening, sharing, self-discovery, systemic inquiry and community building. It will take place from October 14-21, 2012, in the spectacular Wadi Rum desert in Jordan. What is the intention of the Jam?
The Jam is not a conference, seminar or a typical meeting. It is a gathering for three different levels of conversation about change: the internal (self), the interpersonal (relationships) and the systemic (the whole). On the internal level, it is a place to share and reflect on their life journeys and their work in the world. It is a time to replenish, recharge and renew, and to gain specific and practical tools for self-care and personal sustainability. It is also an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge, to ask meaningful questions, to unlearn our fears and blocks, and to co-create new possibilities together.
On the interpersonal level, we come together to share our cultures, our stories and our struggles with each other, to deepen in our understanding of each other and of ourselves. The Jam values diversity and seeks to bring together as diverse a group of people as possible. During the week, we hope to discover our commonalities and celebrate our differences. Given the conflicts happening in the region, it is not always easy to hold onto a vision of unity and cooperation that exists beyond the narrative of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. The Jam seeks to create dialogues that build on what is common among us, in which our differences are engaged, not with antagonism, but with a spirit of shared learning. We see the Jam as a chance to move from the ‘demon-ization’ that is so prevalent today, to the ‘human-ization’ we so desperately need for a healthier future for all. The intention is to build trust and friendship, in a meaningful (not superficial) way. This means challenging stereotypes, being present with each other, speaking truth, working through tough places and being open to giving and receiving support. We feel that the more authentic our relationships are, the stronger the foundations we will have for developing new collaborations and synergies within our region.
On the systemic level, through the Jam, we become clearer about our vision and work in the world. We get a chance to link issues that aren’t commonly linked, to notice crucial intersection points, and get a clearer picture of the whole. We come together to learn from each other: about what is working, about what mistakes we have made, about where we need help. We have a chance to share tools and ideas to support one another. In turn, we hope this helps us to generate a body of collective wisdom for activism in the region. We also hope it will enable each participant to feel deepened in their capacity to affect meaningful positive change and carry their dreams forward.
What do you mean by ‘Middle East’? How do you define it?
As an organizing team, we struggled a lot with this question. We know that this region has definite impacts on the world, and the rest of the world has definite impacts on it. Yet, as an ‘in-between’ place, it is hard to define. Even the term of Middle East itself comes out of a colonial mindset — one we certainly don’t want to reinforce at the Jam. As a team, we realized that part of the intention of the gathering was to increase our understanding of the region as a whole: its uniqueness, its diversity, its cultures and traditions, and what it offers the world today.
Therefore, we decided it was best to leave it to you to define what the ‘Middle East’ is to you. We have considered its geographic breadth, from North Africa to Iran, from Turkey to Pakistan, and we feel it includes a diversity of issues, cultures and languages. Many people feel connected to it for various reasons, and all of these reasons have a place at the Jam. In the application, we ask you to describe how and why you feel linked to the region and why it feels relevant and meaningful for you to be part of this Jam.