By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 17 March 2013:
The British Council’s second Paving the Future Youth Forum started today, with 50 participants from around . . .[restrict]the country.
“Today in Libya’s streets we don’t yet listen to each other,” the Vice President of the General National Congress, Jumaa Ahmad Atigah, said at the opening ceremony: “We don’t realise that the basis for a good debate is respect for the other side.”
He said that young people could change this and promote open dialogue. “Only this way can we build a new society,” he added.
“All curriculums in Libya should teach the techniques and arts of dialogue,” Atigah said, “it is the only way forward: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.”
He also thanked the British Council for their continued support and assistance to Libya.
The British Ambassador, Michael Aron, echoed Atigah’s thoughts, praising the British Council for its commitment to supporting the Libyan people, especially through promoting the participation of young people.
“You have a responsibility because you are the future of the country,” Aron said to the attendees.
Director of the British Council Cherry Gough called on all those present, in the course of the week, to speak to each other. “Talk to people you disagree with, challenge your ideas and listen to your colleagues,” she said.
The Paving the Future Youth Forum promises to offer the young people an intense week, with a nine-to-five programme of workshops, and evening debates and interactive theatrical performances.
This is the second part of the forum. The first took place a year ago, with 250 participants. Mohamed Alzway, from Benghazi, who also attended last year’s forum, said it taught him more about debate, as well as the skills to create professional presentations to introduce new ideas.
“I know that I will benefit from British Council events,” he said. “Last year, it was just after the revolution and everything was new. Now we know what the problems are and I think I will learn more.” [/restrict]