By Nasry Esmat
More than 120 Young Egyptians are expected to gather in Cairo next Friday to celebrate the launch of the third social media café in the Arab World and to take a clear stance against sexual harassment.
The social media café is a gathering for young people in the Arab world organized by the Swedish Institute in order to give youth an opportunity for networking and to teach them how to use social media tools in development and social entrepreneurships.
“Since we announced the event I got so many phone calls and emails from young Egyptians willing to participate, there is a growing interest in social media among Egyptians”, said Sara Eldemerdash the coordinator of Cairo’s cafe.
The social media cafes in the Middle East are one of the impacts of the Swedish Institute’s Young Leaders Visitors Program (YLVP).
In the last 3 years, the YLVP brought 75 young Arab leaders to Sweden where they learned Leadership and social media skills.
User generated map
On the top of Cairo’s gathering agenda is the sexual harassment problem, Engy Ghozlan the co-founder of the user generated project harassmap.org will give a presentation about how Egyptians will use twitter and other social media tools to end the harassment epidemic.
“we hope that the audience will interact with the harassment map and spread the idea among their contacts”, Eldemerdash said.
The gathering agenda also includes presentations and speeches by Javeria Rizvi Kabani the YLVP Project Manager, Alexandra
Rydmark the Representative of the Swedish Embassy in Egypt, Joakim Jardenberg CEO of Mindpark, Heidi Harman from Geek girl project and the Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas.
“The overall goal of the project is to solidify social entrepreneurship in the Middle East for positive change in the region”, Hiba Farhat, the project coordinator in Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and a participant in 2008 edition of YLVP told EMAJ magazine.
Hiba defines a social entrepreneurship someone who recognizes a social problem and uses creative principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.
“Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital and change in society”, Farhat added.
The concept of the café is to hold an offline meeting between young leaders in one place for the first time then leave them to continue their interaction online.
The Middle East coordinator sees the social media café project as a great opportunity to connect MENA and EU regions by “Rethinking the Middle East Socially’.
“ We are looking for ideas, projects and collaborations from the region and for the region, the EU part here and particularly in Sweden is to provide networks, experience and support system to path the way”.