Meet Suhaib Abdat: A graduate of Al-Quds Open University with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems
“I’ve always wanted to create a real change in Palestinian society, but I faced so many difficulties at an individual level that it effected my engagement with those around me. When I joined REFORM’s projects and initiatives, I was finally able to fill in my capacity gaps. I felt my communication and leadership skills improved tremendously and I was able to take on new endeavors, which changed my outlook on life. After learning how to facilitate constructive dialogue, using methods of social and conflict transformation, it was as if I could lead any discussion at all levels of society. REFORM opened doors of opportunity for me to lead public debates on different issues facing our society, often with decision-makers that I would have otherwise never met. Not only did I meet people from outside of my governorate, but also met members of the PLO. Although this directly contributed to increasing my active role in my community, what is more important to me is that it gave me hope for the future.
In the past, most of the activities that I engaged in consisted of the same old talks on politics and history. But with REFORM it was different; I was suddenly able to understand how the systems and structure in place actually came to be. For once, I was able to picture the future that we, as Palestinians, deserve to have. I could put the jigsaw pieces together in my head; the different knobs and pockets (social groups) need to be able to come together just right, in order to develop social systems and policies that are responsive to youth and women’s needs, rights and aspirations. This encouraged me to work with my peers to search for solutions that create social change and promote social cohesion in the Palestinian society. Together with a group of youth, I took part in a monitoring team that prepared the 18th Government Performance Evaluation Report for 2020 which amplified our voices at the decision-making level.
I think one of the most important things that I noticed about myself, through my participation with REFORM, was that I was able to think differently. I use to be so adamant towards my own views and opinions that the idea that I could be wrong, or that someone else could be just as right, was inconceivable. Over time and with some capacity development, I saw the flaws in my ways and became more open to the idea of accepting and listening to new perspectives and beliefs. I learned that each opinion, thought and voice has a value and that we cannot achieve real change without considering them all – otherwise we are only contributing to the problem.
REFORM changed my life in so many ways that they can’t all be written down. A key achievement for me on a personal level was being nominated and now being I’m a member of the UN Women’s Youth Forum at the national level. REFORM believed in me, and now it is time to believe that we, as youth, are capable of utilizing our individual and collective abilities to achieve the change we want to see.”