The Context

Jossour: Building Civic Society Through Intercultural Transnational Dialogues

تويزة/Twiza is defined as the act of a community coming together to build a material structure, such as a house or barn. The تويزة/Twiza project is a two-year collaboration of seven universities and three non-government organizations that will build an digital infrastructure to allow over 500 youth participants in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America to engage in transnational dialogues about the meaning of civic society and human rights in response to a global rise in extremism and intolerance. Twenty of these individuals will then be chosen as تويزة/Twiza Fellows to take part in a five-day workshop where they will build (then implement) civic society projects focused on human rights in their home communities. From the dialogues and workshops, educational materials will be then develop for use at additional universities and non-government organizations. Upwards of 20 university courses will also be revised to insure this project continues beyond the two-year funding period.

Current Context:

Sectarian divisions coupled with polarized debate have radicalized a politics premised on bigotry and hate. When such politics are placed within a global context, the results can be witnessed in the increase of hate crimes in local communities and a rise in global intolerance towards political/economic refugees. In this current moment, then, there is a vital need for platforms in which individuals, groups, and communities can engage in productive discussions about the meaning of tolerance, diversity, peace, and human rights. Such dialogues, however, must also then be turned into pragmatic actions within communities.  Indeed, the need for such a dialogues and pragmatic actions are particularly important for global youth, whose actions as a generation will either solve or exacerbate the radicalized and hate-based politics in which they are moving toward adulthood.