A World without Walls 2012

YaLa - Young Leaders Berlin Peace Summit: "The First Middle Eastern Youth Peace Initiative"

(Berlin; August 24th - 26th, 2012)

Concluding Statement

Over the course of two intense days we, 18 young leaders from across the Middle East & North Africa, members of the YaLa-Young Leaders Movement and its Steering Committee, have deliberated and devised the course to be taken by the YaLa movement from hereon. Coming from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq & Kuwait, and including an international observer, we have done so with the intention of serving and empowering the expression of the needs and voices of the 165,000 YaLa members from across the Middle East & North Africa, taking into consideration the specific circumstances of all the peoples of the region making up our membership, to whom we dedicate our efforts and actions. Throughout the summit we have been updating the YaLa community, with our updates being viewed by an audience of 570,000 people.

The Summit embodied the diversity, dedication and creativity of the YaLa-Young Leaders movement geared to participatory and collaborative processes for generating cross-regional answers to issues faced by young people in the region, processes in which we aim to engage our membership of 165,000, bridging the gaps between the peoples of the region, in particular the rift between Arabs and Israelis. We believe that such collaborative efforts are the path towards enabling the young generation to take a leading role in shaping the Middle East and North Africa, building upon the vibrant and dynamic energies which propelled the Arab Spring and the Israeli movement for Social Justice - a role we must take to ensure our futures and those of future generations.

We have composed a detailed and pioneering initiative for the future of the young generation in the Middle East & North Africa, the YaLa MENA Initiative for peace and economic cooperation. The first peace initiative of its kind formulated by the young generation and aimed at expressing their needs and concerns, and offering an alternative trajectory which provides hope in place of despair, change in place of reaction, security in place of fear, freedom in place of oppression, equality in place of inequality, prosperity in the place of poverty and peace in the place of war and terror.
The main segments of this initiative are:

We support the forces of positive progressive change in the region, which have come to the forefront of political and civic discourse in recent years, chiefly through the active involvement of youth.

We view with the utmost importance the upholding of Human & Civil Rights and the right of the peoples of the region to participate in their governments. We believe that the countries of the Middle East & North Africa should be governed according to the principles of rule of law, equality before the law, respect for minority rights, gender equality & the empowerment of women, and in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe that only a Middle East & North Africa guided by these principles will truly provide a safe and productive environment for the young generation and future generations.

We reject sectarian, ethnic and national strife and violence. We further reject any and all inequalities based on such rifts. It is our belief that only a region which stands boldly against any violence, terrorism or occupation is a region in which the young generation can truly fulfill its potential.
We call for an immediate return to negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, with the intention of reaching a sustainable peace - reconciliation - between the nations, answering the needs of each nation to freedom, equality, security, prosperity and sovereignty, bringing an end to occupation, violence and terror, and respecting human rights and international law. To this end we endorse a two-state solution based on the Barack Obama 19 May 2011 speech and the Saudi Peace Initiative adopted by the League of Arab States. We see the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as going hand-in-hand with the resolution of all outstanding conflicts in the region, and as a crucial step to obtaining regional peace.

We call for an immediate end to violence in Syria, and a peaceful resolution to the crisis there, providing the Syrian people with the freedom and security of which they have been deprived, and which they deserve.

We extend our call to the ending of all other outstanding conflicts in the region.

We emphasize the right of equal access to quality education, including higher education, for future generations and the need for quality youth employment. We call upon the international community and the international private sector to invest in the region, and are confident that such an investment, through the capacity and dedication of the young generation will bear considerable fruit.

We believe in the power of cultures, shared and different, to cement the ties between the young generation across the region.

In accordance with the YaLa MENA Initiative we have agreed upon the need to implement projects geared specifically towards the young generation, in the fields of Education, mainly through the YaLa Online Academy, Media, Alternative Tourism, Start-Up Business Accelerators, Sports, Culture and Communication. We have resolved to locate potential partnerships for these projects amongst the public, private and non-governmental sectors in the region and internationally from amongst like-minded organizations and actors.

We have further resolved to approach regional and world leaders from all fields, including the President of the United States of America, the Heads of the European Union, Secretary General of the United Nations and regional heads of state, with this initiative and its resulting projects because we believe that the voices of the young Middle Eastern & North African generation are much talked about but seldom truly heard and acted upon.

We call on world and regional leaders to engage in a concrete dialogue with representatives of the young generation in the Middle East & North Africa in order to put an end to conflict and to work with the young generation to lead the region towards a prosperous future.

We would like to commend the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy for organizing and holding this Summit and working in partnership with us to assure its success. We see this as an initial step on our path towards promoting change in the Middle East & North Africa and wish to announce that follow-up meetings will be held in October and December to further develop the presented projects and all of our activities.

We believe that it is within the power of the young generation of the Middle East & North Africa to propel the region towards an altogether more hopeful future. Throughout our guiding light is and has been a combination of our values as a movement, and our undying belief in the young generation of the Middle East & North Africa and its untapped power to lead the region to peace and prosperity. It is this combination which compels us as a movement to hold steadfast to our principles and say:

"We Shall Overcome."