Fifty participants from fourteen Arab countries compete to envision the world in 2030 in the Visualize 2030 data camp in Beirut, Lebanon

22 Oct 2018
  • Fifty participants from fourteen Arab countries compete to envision the world in 2030 in the Visualize 2030 data camp in Beirut, Lebanon

The second Visualize 2030 data camp, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Arab Development Portal (ADP) concluded today with a closing ceremony held at Beit Beirut. The five-day camp was organized under the framework of the Arab Development Portal (ADP), an initiative of the Coordination Group of Arab National and Regional Institutions, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Islamic Development Bank, to strengthen knowledge in the Arab Region. This particular event focused on strengthening the capacity of youth to collect and analyze data and create visual and audio data products that address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s hackathon was held in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development. Over the five days, the event received additional media attention when the participants were joined by Jaafar Abdulkarim, the host of the Deutsche Welle Interactive Talkshow Shabab Talk.


Fifty participants representing 14 countries were selected from a pool of 371 applications to attend the camp in Beirut, Lebanon from 12-16 October. Visualize 2030 aims to enhance the collaborative and innovative efforts of youth in the region to achieve the SDGs. Over the five days, the teams were encouraged to focus on the issues that concern them and their communities. They worked with technical experts to create data-driven audio and visual products to highlight the issues and proposed solutions to them. In the age of increased open access to data and technology, all actors in society are able to engage to achieve the goals agreed upon in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Over 150 people attended the closing ceremony, which took place in the historic Beit Beirut, a building destroyed during the Lebanese war and now operating as a cultural center. During the ceremony the winners were announced after being reviewed by the evaluation committee, including: Lebanese talk show host and producer Zavan Kouyoumadjian (Lebanon), Advocacy and outreach expert Imad Bazzi (Lebanon), Alia Alayli from Bayanat Box (Bahrain), Ines Imri, Former Director of the Maghreb Economic Forum (Tunisia), and Dina El Khawaga, Director of the Asfari Institute of Civic Engagement and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut. The results came out as follows: .


First place: Hekaya from Yemen

Second place: ArtMoony from Tunisia

Third place: Dania Al Khalaf from Syria

In his remarks, Khaled Abdelshafi, Director of the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States in Amman commented: “We are pleased to host the Visualize 2030 data camp this year and to cooperate with UNESCO and the Hariri Foundation to bring 50 young men and women from 14 countries in an engaging and educational environment that allows them to share with us their vision for 2030.”

“Young people are capable of utilizing the tools at their disposal to take a proactive role in addressing the development challenges in the region. It is saddening that the unemployment rate amongst youth in the Arab is 28%, the highest rates globally of any region, particularly taking into account that those under 30 represent 60% of the population of the Arab world. Young women, in particular, are even more disadvantaged, as  42% is unemployed. As access to education increases, we need to place additional emphasis on ensuring quality education and better job opportunities” he added.


Representing the Arab Coordination Group, Jaafar Almahdi, Senior Operations Officer at the OPEC Fund for International Development stressed that the group greatly believes in the power of youth. “This camp,” he commented, “is an important event that unleashes the potential of young people in the Arab world to engage in data-driven debates and make an impact on their communities.”


On the success of the Visualize 2030 event, Farah Chouchair, Project Manager of ADP commented “We welcomed these 50 participants and taught them how to make the best use of data and visualization tools, and in return, we learned about their hopes and aspirations. Despite the diverse origin of the participants, with many coming from countries in conflict or affected by conflict, all came together with a common goal: create a better future.


“Visualize 2030 is innovative aiming to address an important gap: how to convey knowledge to policymakers and stakeholders to think and act out of the box. UNESCO’s MOST Programme aims to enhance research and policy linkages by addressing multiple gaps,” said Seiko Sugita, Programme Officer at UNESO. 

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