Belabbes Benkredda (MA Middle East Politics 2003).

International democracy award for graduate

A graduate, who established an online and television forum to encourage young Arabs to take part in public life and debate, has been recognised with an award in the United States.

Belabbes Benkredda (MA Middle East Politics 2003) founded The Munathara Initiative, a forum where citizens across the Arab world can take part in debate. Participants post a short video expressing their views on current issues onto the platform and others are able to vote on their favourite contributions. Individuals who have produced the most popular videos are invited to go on to debate the issues face to face with politicians in televised debates.

The Munathara Initiative, which was set up in the wake of the Arab Spring of 2011, also organises debate and communication skill training sessions for young people. It is currently working in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen and also operates a debate programme for Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan.

Belabbes was awarded a 2013 Democracy Award by the National Democratic Institute, which is based in the United States. The organisation seeks to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and government accountability.  

“Ten years ago, almost to this day, the University of Exeter awarded me the 2003 Nazih Ayubi Memorial Prize for my MA dissertation," he said. "Being recognized at NDI’s Democracy Award Dinner 2013 is a great way to celebrate this. I am honoured and humbled, and I want to thank all those who made this possible.“

His award was presented at the annual Democracy Award Dinner in Washington D.C. 

Date: 16 December 2013

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