How WYA changed my perception of citizenship and leadership



The greatest change that happened in the modern history of Tunisia is certainly the Jasmine revolution. It was so fundamental that it changed, personally, my perception toward my citizenship. Words like freedom and dignity were barely highlighted in the past but now they are the core challenges that hold the structure of our society. That is when I decided to join World Youth Alliance.

When I completed the Certified Training Program, my vision for life has changed. I have realized that dignity is not something you ask for, it is internal to every single dweller of this world and intrinsic. The old regime certainly did not support such values like human dignity because the more people are aware of their worth and their values, the more that they are empowered and will ask for their rights.  This regime did not aim to create a generation of Tunisians who are aware of what they are actually capable of. On the contrary, it aimed to create a generation of people who are too scared of change so they won’t threaten the existence of that old regime. I believe that the main problem of the developing countries is beyond economy, it’s rather human related before it ever turned to digits issues and economic slippery slope. We should look up for the causes before the consequences.

Facing limited personnel freedom imposed by government and society is a handicap for human development. In addition, the suppression of any kind of opposition whether political or cultural is a handicap to a societal and economic development. These are in my opinion the mains reasons why the human capital becomes less productive and less creative.

WYA’s ideas have changed my mentality and my perception of citizenship and leadership. It made me believe that the solution for a better world where human dignity is more respected is to educate the young generation about these values, to be aware that human dignity and freedom are intrinsic values and they are not depending on the perception or assessment of the quality of life.  Spreading awareness is the key to protect it and make societies evolve on the economic, cultural and political levels. Education and awareness are the ingredients for human development. We young people should not be afraid to speak our thoughts out loud, preserve our freedom and defend our rights under the value of human dignity.

Written by Souhir Jerbi, a current regional intern from Tunisia at the WYA ME Office in Lebanon.