Hiking the Trails of Sebastiya and Nablus
A group of youth left their footsteps on the cultural heritage sites of Sebastiya and Nablus in Palestine, not without a purpose.
As part of the celebrations of the International Youth Day 2015, NET-MED Youth in Palestine organized a hike in Nablus on September 30, 2015, in partnership with the Multipurpose Community and Resource Center (MCRC) in Nablus - an institution member of the network.
The event aims at fostering youth engagement within their local communities and raising their awareness of their role to preserve and promote national cultural and heritage sites. Around 40 young Palestinians have taken part in the hike, which started from the Sebastiya cultural site, passing through Nablus northwestern villages, to Khan Al-Wakala in the Old City of Nablus, a heritage site that UNESCO and the EU jointly restored in 2012.
The hikers also enjoyed a storytelling (Hakawati) gathering at Khan Al-Wakala. The story focused on the role of youth in developing and building their societies, as the theme of International Youth Day this year was “Youth Civic Engagement”.
“I wanted to participate in this activity because I wanted to explore and know more about the nature and the history of the Palestinian villages and the archaeological sites near where I live”, said Ola Marshud, one of the participants.
The event is also part of UNESCO’s Global “#Unite4Heritage” campaign, which was launched by UNESCO to mobilize global support, especially amongst young people, for the protection of cultural heritage, in response to unprecedented attacks on the region’s cultural diversity and heritage, and to counter propaganda of hatred and extremism with messages of unity, tolerance and solidarity.
"Youth have the power to advocate about the value of their culture and heritage, and using the power of the social media, they can illustrate a positive and protective image in response to all the destruction and vandalism of the cultural sites we are witnessing in the region. To build peace tomorrow, we need to defend today our common heritage of diversity and tolerance," said Junaid Sorosh-Wali, Head of the Culture Unit at UNESCO Ramallah Office.
Within the #Unite4Heritage campaign, other voluntary and social activities involving young people will be held during the coming months at Palestinian cultural sites in both the West Bank and Gaza.
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.