The New Think Festival or فكر جديد is a yearly weekend event that is part of NewThink, a non-profit initiative that aims to inspire youth to think about the world in an innovative way. The festival is one of the many events throughout the year to get youth involved. This year the festival hosted 13 different organizations at King Hussein Business Park in Amman that inspired their audience to be visionary and think differently about the world through presentations and workshops. There were a variety of organizations ranging from business, environmental, medical and educational groups. You can see a list of the programs at 2014 New Think Festival here.
Right at the entrance of the festival was INJAZ, an organization that prepares youth to become productive members of society through skill-building career guidance and entrepreneurship programs. INJAZ started in 1999 as a Save the Children initiative and in 2001 it was re-launched as an independent, non-profit Jordanian organization under the patronage of Queen Rania. It began with the idea to bridge help youth develop the soft and hard skills needed in the current job market while exposing them to the private sector and entrepreneurial ventures.
As you walk further in, Leaders of Tomorrow had three interactive programs that they were showcasing. We were able to talk to the Executive Director, Dr. Sami Hourani, who founded the youth led organization for more information. Leaders of Tomorrow aims to create a political and social network of change that allows free speech, human rights, equality and education to be accessible. At New Think, Leaders of Tomorrow showcased FadFed, For9a, and Diwanieh. FadFed, which means “let it out”, is a campaign to create a public dialogue about controversial topics by putting white pieces of paper and makers in public spaces all over Jordan. Leaders of Tomorrow even utilized the festival as an open space in which everyone was encouraged to write new ideas or enter a discussion on education. For9a is an online platform that provides educational opportunities for students interested in studying abroad, participating in international competitions and more. Their third initiative is Diwanieh which empowers local youth to focus on dialogue through debates on sociopolitical issues in public that are relevant today.
Not too far from the Leaders of Tomorrow section was the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN), an environmental NGO that seeks to keep Palestine and Jordan green. It began in 2003 by people who were motivated to protect the environment in areas of land that had faced destruction particularly in areas of occupation and armed conflicts. They wanted to raise awareness for the environment, especially as more people begin to shift towards technology and forget about the planet. As of today, they have close to two million trees planted thanks to their “The One Million Tree Campaign” and “The Green Caravan” campaign. At the New Think Festival, APN sold merchandise in which the proceeds would go toward more trees in Palestine and Northern Jordan. Check out their website or Facebook.
Do you know of any positive, innovative start-ups in the Middle East? We would love to hear about them at Editor@Barakabits.com!