14 days with the world
Many bags had been packed and kept in different corners around the world in preparation for a new adventure, a new experience and a quite new culture. My bag was one of those.
We were all getting ready for the 27th of July – a date where we would all begin our 2-week learning journey at the International Youth Media Summit in Falkenberg, Sweden.
I remember how I spent an entire week filling out the application form to join the Summit. There were several questions about myself and the reason I wanted to join the event. I had to really think of the answers. I consulted with my colleagues, family and friends to help me answer the questions. Oh, the long discussions we had about who I am before my application was complete!
At this international event, the dialogue revolved around 7 key issues for youth: Environment, violence, poverty, youth empowerment, women’s rights, health and discrimination. As participants we had to choose one issue that we believed to be the most important to us, and make a 90-second movie about it during the summit.
I chose “Violence”. I think that, somewhere, all the problems in the world are related to violence. For example, if you took someone’s rights because of his religion or ethnicity, or if you polluted the water sources and the street, or even if you deprived young people from being involved in development opportunities, that all means you are exerting some kind of violence.
When I arrived to Sweden, the first thing I did was meet everyone that crossed my path! As the days went by, we all became more comfortable with each other. We joked, went on excursions, enjoyed movie nights, gathered around meetings and did many other things.
I interviewed most of the participants and delegates with one question. “What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say International Youth Media Summit?” Every time the answer was the same: “Family”.
How I became a part of the Family
I didn’t know anyone from the International Youth Media Summit family before. I was there as one of the representatives of the NET-MED Youth project. I talked about the work of my organization, Taghyeer for Social Media, which is a member of NET-MED Youth in Palestine. In particular, I shared my experience in the project I coordinate since October 2016, the digital social media platform YouKnow. My project connects people, social activists and journalists with decision-makers in Palestine. YouKnow is relevant to one of the main goals of NET-MED Youth, which is to support youth freedom of expression and media representation and production.
I always thought that being a young woman in a developing country could be bad luck, or a challenge from God. We face many troubles everyday. We struggle with shortcomings in the fields of women’s rights and youth empowerment. Most people in our countries don’t care as much about the environment or natural resources. Unemployment and poverty rates are really high, and they’re increasing.
But when I went to Sweden, I found that the troubles we are facing are indeed solvable if enough dedication is put into them. The world faces many challenges, and youth in every country are finding solutions – which many times are dependent on laws, social traditions and, sometimes, funding opportunities. Still, I now have the courage to change my country as well. This courage I gained is what makes me believe that I am now part of the IYMS family, and the world.
Excerpt from my diary during the experience
“I have a group now. I am the producer, which is quite an amazing experience for me. I am to make sure the equipment is in place, the appointments are fixed, and the shooting sites are properly checked before the actual shooting. We are making a short film about the trafficking of illegal weapons, under the theme of ‘Violence’. So we try to raise awareness about the importance of someone else’s life and how one day violence might get back at the same person dealing in arms – just like karma. Our message is to stop this trade because nobody knows where the weapons go. PS: I have become an expert in weather forecasting lately, mostly because I can predict the unpredictable Swedish weather.”
Taking part in the International Youth Media Summit 2017 was a great opportunity for me. I think that every young person around the world should have this kind of opportunity, because the IYMS gathered more than 20 nationalities, that is more than 20 cultures and experiences. Everyone who participated will now drive change in relation to some critical issues around the world, in his/her own way. These young people will share their experiences and knowledge with others in their countries as much as they can. A young man from Nepal will be showing the films, another one from Lebanon will change the way he documents the issues in his country, and a young woman from Greece will present the films in festivals.
As for me, I keep reflecting on a lot of things I learned during the Summit. One of the most important realizations I have is that I can make the impossible possible and that, yes, I can change the world! So, I have decided to show the films to young people and to organize workshops around these. I want to let them share their own ideas regarding the issues that the films we have produced address, because this way we can help everyone become an independent and creative thinker. Till the next time… farväl familj
Scroll down to watch the film that Phantina and her peers produced. Click here to watch all the films produced by youth.
The participation of two NET-MED Youth representatives at the International Youth Media Summit was made possible thanks to co-financing from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Phantina Sholi is 23. She is a young Palestinian journalist who works as a show host and reporter in local radio station Ajyal. She is also project coordinator at the Taghyeer for Social Media organization, freelancer and blogger. Phantina is a social activist. She volunteers in different fields with different organizations such as the Red Crescent, Animal league, Ministry of Education, etc. When she was a student at Birzeit University, she completed 1,050 credit hours of volunteering. Phantina is an active member of NET-MED Youth's media work. She believes that NET-MED Youth gives youth very important opportunities to change their way of thinking and to be actors of change in their society.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.