Salam Shabab (Peace Youth) is the first real life television program made to promote the empowerment of Iraqi youth. Filmed and produced in Iraq, each season of Salam Shabab follows 54 Iraqi teens from six different provinces as they produce their own short films, perform on stage, and use teamwork to win sport and mental challenges.
In 2009, thirty Iraqi youth from across the country were filmed while competing in a series of challenges ranging from sport and film to performance competitions. Backed by a peacebuilding curriculum, the resulting 30-minute pilot documentary was then broadcast on a network of Iraqi channels in early 2010. Since then, three full seasons of Salam Shabab, a reality TV series made up of 30-minute episodes where 140 Iraqi youth from across the country compete in a series of peacebuilding challenges to become the nation's "Ambassadors of Peace." The first two seasons of Salam Shabab aired in full on Iraqi state TV, a network of local satellite channels, and on the regional kids channel SpacePower. In late 2013, Season 3 was broadcast on Al Hurra-Iraq, as well as a number of private Iraqi satellite channels
The television program is complemented by a social networking website at salamshabab.com that enables Iraqi youth to connect with one another and share their peacebuilding experiences. Salam Shabab has earned international acclaim by being awarded the UNESCO Prize for Intercultural Dialogue at the children’s programming competition, Prix Jeunesse, in March of 2012.
On January 25, an event at USIP explored what connects and divides Iraqi youth from others across the region. In addition to a panel of three dynamic young cultural leaders and activists, the afternoon featured an exclusive screening of one episode from Season 1 of Salam Shabab, the first peacebuilding television series for Iraqi youth supported by USIP. A question and answer session with the show's producers followed the screening, and the evening concluded with a live performance by Iraqi pop band UTN1.
In December of 2011, USIP held a second Preventing Media Incitement to Violence in Iraq Workshop in Erbil for Iraqi media regulatory bodies, news media and civil society monitoring NGOs. Since a key objective of the workshop was to place ownership of self-regulatory tools into the hands of Iraqi media stakeholders themselves, USIP and expert trainers designed a practical, hands-on training program to instruct participants in content analysis methodology and style guide development for application at their own organizations.
This Piece Brief presents a unique collection of Iraqi youth perspectives based on recent research as well as firsthand views of Iraqi youth participating in the filming of the Salam Shabab (Peace Youth) reality TV series.
This first Preventing Media Incitement to Violence in Iraq Workshop gathered fifteen high-level Iraqi media stakeholders from government, news media and civil society to preview preliminary content analysis results of the top five Iraqi satellite channels’ coverage of the 2010 parliamentary elections. The content analysis was then used as a training tool to teach participants how to conduct their own content analysis. In addition, they collaboratively developed the foundations for a customizable Style Guide for preventing media incitement to violence in Iraq.
Video: Salam Shabab Pilot Documentary
The pilot episode of Salam Shabab brought together 30 Iraqi youth from across the country to participate supporting a new and growing community of young Iraqis committed to peacebuilding.
In order to address some of the challenges facing youth in Iraq, USIP and its Iraqi partners created a multimedia program that provides Iraqi teenagers with tools that can help them grow into independent, empowered citizens within a complex society. This report offers an introduction to USIP’s youth media project, a summary of an expert working group and the next steps in developing the program designed to help Iraqi teenagers in becoming active contributors to peace in Iraq.
These guidelines are a resource developed by USIP in collaboration with UNESCO and Iraqi media partners. They are designed as a self-regulatory tool for media to gain awareness about the dangers of inflammatory language in reporting on elections. This Arabic resource, which includes suggested alternatives to facilitate more conflict-sensitive reporting, has been distributed to Iraqi media outlets and government offices prior to Election Day in Iraq.
Iraqi media stakeholders have identified media incitement to violence as a crucial issue, especially during election periods. As a result, USIP convened a conference on September 25-26, 2009 to explore the complex issue and to identify specific action points for mitigating inflammatory coverage in Iraq. This brief documents the findings of that conference.