Okeil: Promoting the culture of dialogue at all stages of a child's development instill inside him the importance of respecting the other
Mina: We adopt the initiative to encourage dialogue among children because they are the main pillar in building societies
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights has launched a new initiative entitled "Interlocutors from Early Childhood", which targets Egyptian children in the age group 6-12 years. The initiative aims to educate children and raise their awareness about the acceptance of the other and the principles of peaceful coexistence through educational short stories and booklets that contain pictures and cartoon characters. This booklet will effectively promote citizenship and limit the spread of hate speech, and it will be available online for thousands of families and child-related parties.
In this context, Ayman Okeil, the human rights expert and president of Maat, pointed out that the origins of hate speech are closely linked to the social upbringing and the surrounding environment in which the child grows. Therefore, fostering children’s awareness of the culture of dialogue from an early age and raising their awareness about the importance of respecting and tolerating with others is highly encouraged. This allows children to easily and effectively interact with others, enlightens their souls and minds, and helps them to find their true identity. Okeil stressed that Maat has been working on launching this initiative, believing that planting the seeds of tolerance, coexistence, and effective dialogue today can give birth to a better and thriving tomorrow.
On her part, Monica Mina, director of the Programs and Projects Unit at Maat, confirmed that incidents of school violence and bullying in Egypt trigger aggression and anti-social behaviors inside the child. Mina added that within the framework of the "Peace Builders in Egypt" project, Maat launches this initiative to promote the concept of dialogue among children, because they are tomorrow’s youth and are the main pillar in the progress and construction of societies. We hope to develop an integrated communication mechanism between the family and the school to work on rejecting the ideology of hatred and non-acceptance of others from an early age and replacing it with the ideology of dialogue.
Notably, this initiative is one of the youth initiatives implemented within the framework of cooperation between Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights and the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), based on their efforts to build and settle local and international peace and to address dangerous phenomena to promote dialogue and exchange of cultures in order to activate the goals of tolerance and acceptance of the other.