On Thursday, 17 March, BADIL implemented the first meetings of the Youth Return Forum. The Youth Return Forum is an initiative designed to provide the space and opportunity for Palestinian youth engagement and leadership.
The first meeting of the forum spanned three consecutive days (17-19 March), and engaged 50 male and female participants from the age group of 18-28 years from various regions of Mandatory Palestine. The participants of the forum included a combination of previous graduates of BADIL’s Youth Empowerment Course (also known as Al-Awda School), youth working with or volunteering at community-based organizations, or individuals applying for the forum through a call on social media.
The first sessions of the forum included a set of educational exercises and workshops for the participants, which aimed increase knowledge and educate on the policies of forced displacement, the conditions of Palestinian refugees in all areas of their presence, the importance of accurate political and legal terms in describing the existing conditions in Palestine, the skill of debate, and the political participation of Palestinian youth. Field tours were also organized in Bethlehem, Jabal Sbeih - Beita, and Balata refugee camp. Creative examples of Palestinian resilience and resistance were highlighted during the field visit to the village of Beita and Balata refugee camp in the city of Nablus.
The establishment phase of the forum will extend throughout 2022, during which four Al-Awda schools will be held, which are educational and training meetings that will extend over three continuous days, in addition to five working days extending between Al-Awda schools. Through the various trainings and workshops, the youth will have gained the knowledge and skills to manage the forum's work and development. By the end of the year, the youth will be able to develop and launch their own initiatives and recruit more young people to join and engage in the forum's work and activities.
The Youth Return Forum is one of the projects implemented by BADIL Center, which aims to enhance communication between Palestinian youth in Mandatory Palestine, empowering young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to raise their voice to demand their inalienable rights, especially the Palestinian refugees and displaced persons and to revitalize Palestinian identity and cohesion.