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Unique Digital Journalism Training for Arab Journalists

Google, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the World Bank Institute jointly organized the training for Arab journalists.
Google Egypt | 24.04.2013
The training involved 24 young passionate journalists who are committed to help reinvent the way that the media works in the region

Cairo, April 24, 2013 - The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and Google, in partnership with the World Bank, delivered a full two day Digital Training to 25 top social media editors and web journalists from 11 nationalities, including Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Syria, Libya among others, to train on web tools for better newsgathering and reporting across cultures.

The 2-day workshop was underwritten by Google and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and led by an international team of experts from Google, the UNAOC, the World Bank Institute, and other high level media experts. Over 700 journalists applied for the training which has been entirely via live streamed throughout the two days. It was held at the Jordan Media Institute in Amman, an institute of excellence in journalism in the Arab world, which held a similar engagement for its master's students the next day. Given the recent events in the region and the growing role of bloggers, Amman, after the Tunis training held in November 2012 by the UNAOC and Google, appeared as a natural place to train young web savvy journalists and bloggers willing to better report across culture and on the web, learn about ethics and interact with each other.

“When it comes to how information is disseminated, we are moving away from a world where a single source disseminates to many, to a model where multiple sources disseminate to an ever growing number of people. To that end, keeping the Internet open, free and most of all accessible is key. To me, the magic of information and communication technologies is that they enable people who would never have otherwise met to have a conversation, and maybe even, to know and understand someone else’s story. The digital bridge has closed the geographical divide” said UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

Participants also shared cross-cultural insights and experiences, to improve regional cohesion on shared data-driven priorities.

Among the participants were journalists from new blogs and mainstream media from the entire Arab World from small to large print, online and broadcast media, all eager to learn how to better use online tools.

“Google supports journalists in the Arab world with training on how to use the internet to tell better informed stories. Today's journalist in MENA relies on a digital toolbox to find, analyze and share data with the public. Working with the UNAOC and World Bank, the high demand and positive feedback from participants in this program has demonstrated how the web has become powerful mechanism for information sharing”, added Maha Abouelenein, Head of Communications for Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

The training concluded with a competition of social media strategy project, including one called “from Boston to Baghdad” that looks at citizens’ responses to acts of violence and terror, similarities and common ground to better understand each other.

Follow-up meetings will be organized in the course of the coming months via Google+ Hang Out between participants and trainers that will play the role of mentors, to maintain engagement and sustainability of the process.

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About the UNAOC
The Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. The UNAOC is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General which aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, and to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism.