Original Source: www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/, 10th April 2011
DOHA: A four-day ‘Soliya summit’ to develop community-engagement skills for cross-cultural understanding, sponsored by Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar), concluded yesterday at the university’s campus in Education City.
Soliya, a pioneering non-profit organisation that uses new technologies to facilitate dialogue between students from diverse backgrounds across the globe, designed the summit in consultation with Georgetown to provide training in community engagement, media production and leadership.
The summit was held from April 6 to 9 and brought together 25 young adults from more than 15 countries around the world.
Dr Mehran Kamrava, Interim Dean of SFS-Qatar, welcomed the summit participants saying: “You have gathered here at a time of extraordinary and historic change in the world at large and in this region in particular. Change driven largely by young adults exactly like yourselves and the young men and women who study here at Georgetown. And change accelerated by the use of new media technologies that your generation has pioneered, enabling human beings to connect with one another as never before.”
Over the summit’s four days, the young adults spent time with journalists at Al Jazeera headquarters, participated in various training exercises and activities, worked with award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha of Just Vision, and visited key cultural sites around Doha.
The aim of the summit was to build the participants’ sense of community, their media skills, their leadership skills, and their support network so that they may help promote cross-cultural understanding within and between their societies using new media and communications technologies and better engage their communities in constructive discussions about divisive issues.
“As our world grows more and more interdependent, it is critical that the next generation establishes ways to communicate constructively about the common challenges we face and finds solutions that respect the dignity of all people,” said Lucas Welch, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Soliya.
The participants came from over 15 Western and predominantly Muslim countries that included Pakistan, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, the Netherlands, Qatar, the UAE, Australia, and the United States.