Thursday, July 22, 2010

Queen Rania's TwitVid Tourist Swap for Young People

A new contest was recently announced for all the young “tweeters” out there:

A country swap between four lucky people - two young people from Jordan will switch places with two young people from another part of the world all expenses paid. From July 15 until August 4, young tweeters can upload a TwitVid explaining why they would like to visit Jordan (or if they’re from Jordan, why they love their country) and then post it with @queenrania #TwisitJordan.

More details:
• You must be at least 16 years old to participate
• Must be following Queen Rania on Twitter
• Post the entry by tweeting it to @queenrania #TwisitJordan
• Lastly, all eligible tweeters must retweet Queen Rania's video that launched the contest

Find the contest rules here.

This is an engaging idea for young people and the blend of a video entry with twitter could certainly help reach a wide audience. Queen Rania is promoting youth engagement through this swap by sending young people from Jordan to other parts of the world, which will allow Jordanian youth to learn and understand other cultures and countries in relation to their own. Contrastingly, those from other countries will do the same in Jordan. There is a large degree of openness promoted through this contest, which is one of the steps to educating and understanding others.

Queen Rania is also a big supporter of youth community engagement. By promoting her country, she is allowing the opportunity for coordination and outreach with other nations' young people. Through the country swap, young people will be engaged either by entering and spending time in Jordan, or by leaving Jordan and learning about other countries somewhere else in the world. Either way, contestants spend time touring the host countries, learning about other societies and landmarks—all expenses paid.

Here at ICP, we've also been working on youth community engagement in the Middle East/North Africa, in a partnership with the Gerhart Center at the American University in Cairo. The Gerhart Center helps to build networks of philanthropists in the Arab world while working to implement youth engagement programs in the region. We are collaborating to drive a movement for engaging young people in the region for youth and community development.

In particular, ICP is planning the 9th Global Conference of the International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS) in Alexandria, Egypt, October 25-28, 2010. The conference provides youth service practitioners and policymakers from around the world with a stimulating forum to share information and current developments in the field, nurture connections for developing future projects, and discuss the potential for scaling up national youth service for greater impact on community and youth development.

We are also engaging researchers in Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine to identify assets for supporting youth community engagement. We plan to expand to other countries in the region in future phases of the project and Queen Rania’s initiative offers an example of youth engagement in Jordan.

Finally, the Talloires Network is working to engage universities in the Middle East/North Africa, and, through the 2009 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, recognized the work Universite Saint-Joseph in Lebanon after the Summer 2006 war. Students, faculty, and staff were engaged by volunteering as disaster assistants and by utilizing the universities resources and expertise. They offered health services and helped create two libraries in areas that had been destroyed by war. Continued in the Summer of 2007, the university began more development from an academic perspective, working to teach responsible citizenship and spread solidarity and openness among populations often religiously and politically divided in Lebanon.

With networks like Talloires, partners like the Gerhart Center, and events such as the IANYS Global Conference our research and knowledge of youth community engagement in the Middle East/North Africa continues to grow.

We are always thrilled to hear about the work of others to promote youth engagement and Queen Rania's is an innovative use of social media to engage young people in Jordan and globally.

Are you doing anything to engage young people through social media tools? Let us know!

photo by: Josh Semans


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