By Taha Frefir (YES 2018 – 2019, hosted by Ayusa in San Antonio, Texas)
The ability to make decisions is not an easy skill. Decision-making involves making the best choices based on carefully thought out reasoning. Making decisions includes considering who to vote for and even the simple choices we make in our everyday lives. No matter what decision you make, it is always important to step up and make sure your decisions reflect what is best for yourself and your community.
This week we hosted a workshop in Libya that we called “Make Your Decision.” Despite everything that our country faces right now, we still have people who want to make change – these people are decision-makers.
The idea for a workshop on decision-making started in early July, when I overheard two people talking about how the constitution is inefficient and how many people don’t even know what it states. I decided to step up and take action. Why can’t the youth learn about their constitution and what is it says, or even why we hold elections and vote for the candidates who run for office? My fellow alumnus Malik (YES 2018 - 2019) assisted me in hosting the workshop, and was one of the speakers. With his help, the workshop was a great success!
We wanted to use this workshop as an opportunity to let students know that they can be decision makers and create change. On the day of the workshop, after the 13 participants introduced themselves, we explained the purpose of the workshop. This workshop was only to spread awareness about the constitution - it was not to support sides for any political parties. Afterwards, we talked about the constitution including its components, and its role in establishing laws. Following this discussion, we divided the attendees into groups where they created their own imaginary constitutions for an imaginary country.
Next, we talked about elections and why we need to vote in order to make change. We also talked about our ideal future president. We then had another activity where each group came up with three ideas for projects that they would like to implement in Libya. Afterwards, we continued discussing how to make a decision, how to express an opinion without hurting others, and how to find good reasons for making a certain decision.
It was nice to have a variety of people attending the workshop from different ages and different backgrounds - including four incoming YES students, two YES alumni, and seven non-YES participants. They honored us with their attendance and insightful responses. It is a relief to know that we still have young people who strive for peace in a country that is currently unstable. We were more than happy to host this workshop as our first YES alumni project. Although we were nervous about hosting our first workshop, it felt great to know that four of the new YES students who are preparing to start their exchange year benefited from this experience.
I would like to thank all of the participants who attended the workshop, Malik for planning the workshop with me, and AMIDEAST for supporting us on this project. I also want to thank the U.S Department of State and the YES program for helping so many YES students and alumni make bridges of understanding.
Malik Ghirri (YES 2018 – 2019, hosted by AYA/AIFS in Cuba, NY)
Fawz Elbeshti (YES 2019 – 2020, hosted by AFS)
Mohamed Farhat (YES 2019 – 2020, hosted by AFS)
Luqman Bakeer (YES 2019 – 2020, hosted by PAX)
Ainoor Gudgug (YES 2019 – 2020, hosted by AFS)