In May at the Petra Conference, OneVoice had the great opportunity to bring a delegation of youth leaders to speak in sessions in front of dignitaries and political leaders.
OneVoice Palestine Executive Director Nisreen Shaheen was chosen to speak on behalf of Palestinian youth in a meeting with H.M. King Abdullah. She started by thanking him for his support of OneVoice’s work, and for the opportunity to speak in the Conference. She explained that such opportunities will help Palestinian youth to break down some of the borders they face – to stand up and be counted as youth who see and understand the crisis that the Middle East faces today, and are willing to do something positive to change the situation. She pledged that the youth will no longer stay silent in the face of this conflict, and will continue to work hard so that their leaders heed the will of the people. His Majesty was impressed with OneVoice’s successes and plans, and sent special thanks and compliments to the Palestinian delegation for their great contribution.
Odelia Englander, a representative from OneVoice Israel, said during the the session that she was born into the conflict and she is effected by the symptoms of the ongoing conflict. She then blessed the presence of movements and initiatives such as OneVoice and declared that we all should go back to basics in terms of getting to know each other on the interpersonal level. During a second panel discussion she proposed to duplicate the being of the forum into some kind of Youth Parliament and followed by continuing meetings where discussions and proposals regarding regional issues are to be discussed upon. Odelia was quoted in many Jordanian and international Newspapers. King Abdullah was impressed by the ideas put forward and promised to ask his office to start working on them, such as a Mideast youth Parliament, a project to exchange students and professors between Universities in the Mideast, and creating a web-page forum where Mideast youth can discuss regional issues and suggest solutions.
Nisreen spoke again during a panel discussion moderated by Elie Wiesel in which 17 young people from different countries in the Middle East were on the stage sharing their perspectives, fears and suggestions. She spoke about occupation, extremists and how moderates have to stand against them, and about what OneVoice youth are doing to let their voices be heard by the leaders. After the end of the session, she was interviewed by numerous members of the international and Arab media – including all the Jordanian newspapers, BBC Arabic Radio, Italian TV, German TV, Al-Jazeera.net, Jordan News Net, Dubai TV, Al Jazeera TV, and Jordanian TV.