The last week of June was an intensive week for Operation 1325. Two of our projects became interlinked in a meeting between Swedish youth and Palestinian university students. The Palestinians participate in our project Promoting New Democracies, where we cooperate with the organization TAM, an organization that works for gender equality and uses media as a tool for change. They meet 25 young girls participating in our project The Digital Peace Agent during a day at the camp yard Åkerögården in Norrtälje. In order to get to know each other, everyone answered questions of why they are active for gender equality and peace, what challenges they have in their daily lives and what they do to handle the challenges. The meeting between the Swedish youth and the Palestinian visitors became an eye opener for both groups. Here in Sweden, people from different countries live side by side. In Palestine, people live in refugee camps. In Sweden, the Palestinians felt that life as a young person seems to be quite simple. While a young Palestinian woman who wants to work in a food store must fight for her right to do so. And whoever wants to rap and crete music meets resistance. But challenges for the Swedish youth are also there, racism, climate change and concerns for the future are concerns they shared with the rest of the group.
Before the meeting at Åkerögården, the 25 future peace agents had already been at the camp for a few days. During a week of training, they learned about the women, peace and security agenda, human rights, the women’s convention and conflict management and non violent communication.
At the same time, the Palestinians also had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of gender equality through various study visits in Stockholm. First out was a meeting with Men for Gender Equality, where Shahab Ahmadjan told us about the view of men’s responsibility for gender equality and a new idea of masculinity. The meeting provoked new thoughts and insights for all of us, and the Palestinians would like to organize similar activities in Palestine, but they also thought about the resistance it would probably meet. Another thoughtful meeting was at CISV, a worldwide organization working for peace by educating both youth and adults in conflict resolution. The focus of our meeting was on norm-critical perspectives and interactive exercises. Several of the participants said they would use the exercises in their own work back home. We also meet with the magazine Feminist Perspective. They shared their analysis of society and view of the power. All together, the meetings provided new knowledge and new inspiration for the work of gender equality in Palestine. For Operation 1325, the visit and all meetings were just as inspirational and we thank everyone who shared their knowledge.
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