Canada: Sustainable Development in the Arab World
in collaboration with Les Partenaires de l’Association de la Haute Égypte (PACHE), the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), the Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation (NECEF), Radio Centre-Ville 102.3 FM, Solidarité Union Coopération (SUCO), Outils de paix (Montreal), the Centre d'information et de documentation sur le Mozambique et l'Afrique australe (CIDMAA) and Vidéo Tiers-Monde (VTM).
At the threshold of a new century, the Arab world had a huge potential for development, while having gigantic constraints. Its potential relies on its vast natural resources, its skilled workforce, and a relatively developed physical and human infrastructure. Constraints, in turn, are dictated by a difficult socio-political context and the many latent conflicts in the region, making difficult the establishment of democratic political systems that guarantee the respect of civil rights. To tackle these complex problems, an intense and pluralistic civil society emerges gradually, trying to play a greater role in the process of political and social change.
Unfortunately, the medias from here often present a negative image, even violent of the Arab world. It is in this particular and general context that Alternatives has tried to reveal to the public the richness of civil society in the region and to break down the prejudices that are so often associated with it. During previous events and projects, Alternatives had already attacked this vast enterprise, with many workshops in the metropolitan area and repeated interventions within the media, community groups, educational institutions and professional groups.
Produced as part of the Public Participation Program (PPP) from CIDA, this project aimed to focus on sustainable development in the Arab world. Its mains objective was to identify conditions that would allow the Arab world to address development challenges in the full extent of its dimensions: economic, social, cultural, environmental and political. Alternatives sought through its approach to value the work of community-oriented organizations, local NGOs and civil society (in its broadest) sense in the process of political and social change. It has therefore tried to provide the public from here a better understanding of the complex reality of the Arab world through conferences, seminars, workshops, training and presentations in various media. Finally, another objective of this project was to open new opportunities for partnership with NGOs in the Arab world for Alternatives.
This project allowed Alternatives to enjoy greater visibility and to provide the public alternative and diversified information about Arab society.
-Over 520 people attended two seminars, one dealing with Lebanon and the second with Gulf War.
-The tour of the exhibition "Itinéraire de la jeunesse palestinienne" has goes through numerous colleges, universities and union congresses ", for a total of 40 days of exposure. About 7000 people had the chance to see this exhibition.
-Thirty-workshops were held in schools, addressing issues of particular relevance for our school teachers. Our schools, especially those of the Montreal area, have students who come from backgrounds increasingly diverse, which make necessary a better understanding of the Arab world and its culture as much for teachers as for students.
-A series of six radio programs on Arab women, development and Arab immigration in Quebec was broadcast on community radio station Radio Centre-Ville (102,3 FM)
-Alternatives has also conducted six training workshops for its members (in order to enable them to conduct workshops on the Arab world within the public) and three education workshops for the public who have raised a total of 230 people. The workshops focused, among other things, on the development in Algeria, Palestine and in the territories affected by the Gulf War, the problems related to refugees, Canadian aid in the Arab countries and the issue of water in the region.
-Finally, this project allowed Alternatives to increase its visibility in the media and to be perceived as a credible source of information about the Arab world, several media now requesting our organization to comment on current events in the region. 19 interventions on both radio and television, including large networks such as CBC and Radio-Canada, have given Alternatives the chance to contribute to a better understanding of the Arab world within the public from here.