YaLa Academy’s Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism for Youths from the Middle East and Africa2

The YaLa Academy’s Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism brings together leading journalists and new media experts to train Middle Eastern and African youth in basic journalism techniques, photo- and video-journalism and 21st Century activism. Building upon an initiative launched in 2014 in partnership with the U.S. Institute of Peace, this online program is a unique combination of new media training and peacebuilding experience. In regions where media is too often a tool for nationalism, division and fear, YaLa citizen journalists are being empowered to express themselves and tell a very different kind of story.

Students learn online directly from the men and women who led processes of peace negotiation, human rights, transitional justice, peacebuilding and reconciliation in South Africa, Rwanda, Ireland, the Balkans and the Middle East

The Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism trains 400 youth (aged 17-36) per year through a one-of-a kind interactive online classroom incorporating video lectures from top journalists, new media experts and regional bloggers, live online discussions and peer-to-peer learning on assignments. Key to the success of the program – from its 80% retention rate, to its high level of positive participant feedback and extremely active alumni – is the 1-1 mentoring of each student by YaLa staff, who are experienced young Israelis, Palestinians and internationals. The unique blog, photo and video pieces created by the School’s students are published and widely disseminated on new media platforms including YaLa Press and the Huffington Post, thereby bringing a more nuanced view of the region to the world while promoting YaLa’s core values of equality, dialogue, understanding and peace.


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