APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
YALLAH is unique in that it is almost entirely student-run and will be comprised of male and female Qataris and Americans, all of whom have developed friendships through QFI's exchange programs. QFI will carve out a space within its social learning platform, which is being developed with hybrid translation experts from Meedan.net, where students - with the help of a trained moderator - can productively talk about issues and topics relevant to them, their communities, and their worlds. Students will emerge from these discussions with a more nuanced understanding of their counterparts and a cultural competency that will assist them in future interactions with people from different cultures.
Mentors will also be available to help students with their collaborative community projects, intended to improve their understanding of and ability to tackle pressing social problems. Here, students will learn how to ascertain needs, develop proposals, seek funding, and evaluate outcomes.
As the project nears completion, students will engage in outreach to their peers at area schools to discuss everything from the challenges and frustrations they faced to the satisfaction they derived from being active global citizens. Furthermore, using flip cameras and blog updates, students will document the various stages of project development so it can be followed by fans on Facebook and presented at meetings and events.
In addition to YALLAH's virtual side, active members will also hold annual meetings in either the United States or Qatar to renew friendships, strengthen their sense of shared purpose, and visit community projects they have supported.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Deliverable 1: Break stereotypes that negatively impact Arab and U.S. relations
Indicator: Students will demonstrate their abilities to talk about and understand each other's cultures
Deliverable 2: Utilization of Meedan's language tools will increase the students' familiarity with both Arabic and English
Indicator: Communication in the 'foreign' language for non-native speakers will increase. The Arab students will use more English and the American students will use more Arabic
Deliverable 3: Students will make positive contributions to their communities through group service projects
Indicator: The outcome of these projects will be recorded, blogged about, photographed, and showcased on YALLAH's website
Deliverable 4: YALLAH will grow in size and scope
Indicator: The network will add new and engaged alumni members from other parts of the Middle East, the U.S., and other regions
Deliverable 5: YALLAH will become a source of information and inspiration for like-minded groups and individuals
Indicator: YALLAH's own website will be launched and attract significant traffic
This is initially envisioned as an 18 month program, with the potential for continuation beyond the pilot period as QFI expands its Arabic Language and Culture program in the United States, the Middle East, and into other regions. Currently, QFI is discussing possible new programs with partners in Brazil and France.
The official launch of YALLAH was slated for October 1, 2010.
The goal of YALLAH is to build a youth-led community of global citizens - males and females, Qataris and Americans - who are able to navigate national differences, dispense with stereotypes, and build stronger relations with their peers across the world. It will emphasize the importance of combining knowledge, engagement and action to address issues of global and local concern. YALLAH will provide young people with the skills needed to identify and research issues of interest, and the tools necessary to take concrete steps to address them. External assistance will range from advice and mentoring by QFI and partner organizations to funding for selected initiatives.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information
This commitment is seeking a partner to help build a forum for operation, as well as organizations and foundations willing to meet with our students and provide guidance on their proposals.
OFFERING: Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information
QFI became operational in April 2009. While the organization gets its footing, our team of experienced professionals can provide assistance to others on issues such as education, public health, technology and the Middle East.