The Munathara Initiative Brings Unheard Voices to the Public Sphere

Two young winners from the Munathara Initiative’s fourteenth online debate competition for Arab youth will join two prominent Arab opinion leaders in a live debate on March 18 in Morocco. They will debate the following motion: “Freedom of speech has no limits” This debate, which will be moderated by the Egyptian journalist Karema Awad, will be broadcast live on Al Jazeera Mubasher.

During the month of February, more than 300 young people uploaded 99-second videos for Munathara’s #DD14 online debate competition, which was open to all. Munathara also organized outreach workshops with community associations and NGOs in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Jordan to teach their members the art of debate and public discourse. The eight winners of the online competition will come to Morocco to participate in a three-day debate workshop before selecting the two finalists from among them for the live debate.

The debate, which will last 90 minutes, will give all four participants equal time to speak. During the “Moment of Truth,” our two young finalists will take control of the debate by cross-examining the opinion leaders. When viewers tweet to @Munathara with the hashtag #DD14, our moderator will pose their questions to the debaters. The studio audience will vote on the motion before and after the debate. The team that persuades the most people to change their minds will be the winner.

The Munathara Initiative aims to strengthen and support an open public sphere in the Arab world. Through an outreach program aimed at marginalized communities, and an innovative platform online, Munathara brings together young people from across the Middle East and North Africa to discuss the major issues facing their communities. Its television debates, involving both youth from online debates and well-known Arab opinion leaders, have taken place in Dubai, Istanbul, Tunis, Amman and Sanaa.

For more information: Visit the Munathara Initiative’s official website, and connect with the initiative on LinkedIn.


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