New York, August 8, 2012—After breaking their fast, in observance of the holy month of Ramadan, hundreds converged at the public park in the West Bank town of Nouba on Friday for a trivia night organized by OneVoice Palestine’s Hebron chapter.
With the peace process deadlocked, keeping the two-state solution alive across the occupied Palestinian territories required an infusion of creative initiatives by OneVoice Palestine youth leaders. By combining social and cultural activities with their political work, they have been able to grow in numbers and reach. The success of their strategy was on full display during the contest, which drew people from Hebron’s outlying villages and kept them engaged late into the night. Palestine News Network along with two national radio stations covered the event.
“Such events allow us to introduce OneVoice’s youth-led grassroots activism to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state based on the '67 borders to hundreds at a time,” said Samer Makhlouf, executive director of OneVoice Palestine. "We're upfront about the difficulty of our mission, but what attracts the crowds is the simplicity of our message: only a negotiated just resolution to all the final status issues will yield a permanent agreement that ends all claims."
OneVoice Palestine signed up more than 300 people to its mission in support of the two-state solution before the night ended. To ensure such a high attendance, the Hebron chapter reached out to private companies to co-sponsor the contest and offer prizes, which included a second-hand car for the first place winner.
"We're so thankful to the Hebron business community's generosity," said Nader al-Amleh, Aroub College dean of student affairs and senior youth leader. "The prizes contributed to public excitement for the trivia night, drawing a larger than expected number of people to hear OneVoice's message."
In a testament to the movement's ability to target youth, over 120 students from Al-Quds University, Hebron University, Palestine Polytechnic University and Palestine Technical College in Aroub participated in the event, fielding tough questions confidently. OneVoice Palestine has been hitting universities across the West Bank to recruit students for their chapters, and they have been winning them over in droves.
The chapters are the epicenter of OneVoice Palestine's two-state grassroots activism, engaging and providing spaces for new and senior youth leaders to meet, collaborate and create imaginative programming. With 18 active chapters, from Bethlehem to Qalqilya, OneVoice Palestine's Youth Leadership Program has grown by more than 120 members in the first six months, with a total of nearly 600 youth leaders working across the West Bank.
Samer Makhlouf, executive director of OneVoice Palestine, shares the movement's mission and work with hundreds from Hebron’s outlying villages during trivia night at the public park in the West Bank town of Nouba.