The prospect of Palestinian political unity opens the door to practical cooperation across divides entrenched by ten years of factional opposition. The potential dividends are high, as are expectations, and nowhere more so in Gaza. Youth unemployment is at 60%, women and youth continue to be under-represented in politics and public life and the business community are squeezed between three legislative environments. There is therefore considerable pressure on political leaders to deliver practical results, swiftly, in order to bolster support for political reconciliation.
Capitalising upon the appetite for frank and honest exchange between these groups, Forward Thinking facilitated a conference in Gaza 12 – 13th December, titled ‘Moving Forward Together’. Bringing together
political leaders from diverse factions – including The Minister of Education and Higher Education H.E Dr Sabri Saidam, civil society, unions, youth networks and the business community, the conference explored the prospects for reconciliation. There was specific focus on practical priorities such as curriculum reform, the accreditation of Gazan institutions for higher education, graduate unemployment, legislative reform and the need for robust political and ideological inclusivity.
It was significant that political leaders from opposing factions, different institutional backgrounds, and youth leaders were able both to share a platform, and engage in constructive dialogue about shared priorities.