Every year, the International Youth Media Summit brings together young passionate change-makers from around the world. Two members of the NET-MED Youth project, Majd Ayoub (Lebanon) and Phantina Sholi (Palestine) were among them in the latest edition of this gathering of creative minds, in Falkenberg, Sweden, from 27 July to 9 August 2017. Their participation in the summit was made possible thanks to co-financing from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

 

 

During this annual two-week event, young people from over 20 countries engage in inspiring discussions and experience-sharing sessions with young leaders and media experts to learn about the role that media can play in transforming attitudes, behaviors and lives. They then translate their new knowledge and skills into short films that they produce in international teams to tackle social issues that matter to them the most.

 

Seven short films are produced every year, each focusing on one of the following themes: discrimination, the environment, health, poverty, violence, women’s rights and youth empowerment. In parallel to the films is a complementary workshop guide that allows the young participants to encourage dialogue and action in their communities upon their return home. The IMYS is not a punctual happening, but a platform that inspires hundreds of youth around the world to explore social issues, come up with and reflect on solutions and take action to respond to these challenges.

 

It is true that we did not leave Sweden during the training, but I was able to go places through the participants’ stories, through my conversations with them and our exchanges about their cultures and traditions,” says Majd. “I traveled, and I traveled some more. I learned that by coming together as young people of the world, we can build peace, build the future and make the world a better place for everyone to live in.” (click here for Majd’s story)

 

majd ayoub

 

This year, IYMS 2017 added one novelty to its agenda. It organized an open panel discussion at the Grimeton Radio Station, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It looked into how UNESCO works with youth in the Africa region and in southern Mediterranean countries, particularly through the NET-MED Youth project. Everyone provided insights into the role that young people can play as drivers of change, particularly through their use of media.

 

Both Majd and and Phantina shared their stories with the public. They talked about youth’s role and representation in the media in their respective countries, Lebanon and Palestine; and about how they are taking action within NET-MED Youth. Other young people in the panel also shared their experiences: Mwenya Kabense (Zambia), Sokhna Seye Seck (Senegal) and Mohamded Sidibay (Sierra Leone). Charaf Ahmimed, from UNESCO’s Regional Office for Southern Africa; Maria Ericson, Director and artist from Sweden; and Evelyn Seubert, President of the International Youth Media Summit in the US also took part in the discussion. It was a moment where young actors, institutions and professionals could exchange and think together of solutions.

 

Between summits, participants continue to work together, online and in-person, contributing to the IYMS’ goal of creating “a model for a peaceful yet dynamic, cooperative world community.” For the past 12 years, more than 600 youth and adult supervisors from over 50 countries have joined this mission, collaboratively working across borders and harnessing the power of media to shape the world. The energy is growing by the day…

 

“I keep reflecting on the many 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!” says Phantina. “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.”  (click here for Phantina’s story)

 

Phantina

 

Watch all the films produced during the 2017 IYMS here.

 

Read the first-hand accounts by Phantina and Majd.

 

RELATED LINKS:

Zambia/UNESCO youth delegate's short film to be showcased at the Auburn International Film Festival

ROSA supports delegates to the International Youth Media Summit

International Youth Media Summit

 

Cover photo credits: IYMS 2017

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