In February 2016, Candid Foundation launched their first project with a focus on Libya. The media platform Local Libya aims to motivate Libyans to learn more about their fellow citizens and deconstruct prejudices through the art of storytelling while at the same time providing insight knowledge for the international community on life in Libya.
»Local« Libya, because the country and the Libyan society are fragmented due to numerous conflicts. Subsequently, communication between provinces is partially non-existent. The platform hence aims to focus on local daily life, culture and history in the Libyan provinces, which can be explored via an interactive map. The distincive local character of the content meets the need for information on actual life in the failing state – for the international community just as well as for Libyans themselves.
The Candid Team, headed by experienced journalist and Libya Expert Mirco Keilberth gathered a group of ambitious participants from all over Libya who started working on stories from their respective communities after a kick-off workshop in Tunis in April. In the following months, they will improve their journalistic skills, learn photography techniques, decide as a group on the topics covered on the website Local Libya and advocate the project within Libya, winning potential freelance contributors. One focus is to highlight common challenges and needs, so people recognize that often prejudice is the root of social division and violent clashes in Libya.
A second step of the project involves mediation meetings with local authorities in Libya, depending on the security situation in the country. While the website is planned to go live in June 2016, a special Libya issue of zenith magazine will also be published at the end of the year. The special issue will be available in German, English and Arabic.
In November 2015, Candid hosted, in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office, the G7 Deauville-Partnership-Conference on Economic Governance and Social Justice in Berlin.
Bringing together Arab Civil Society actors, German political foundations as well as official representatives from the EU, OECD, IWF and Worldbank, we enabled a vivid exchange of opinions, experiences and challenges with regard to transformation processes in the Deauville partner countries. Facing representatives of all parties involved in the Deauville Partnership, Civil Society activists from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan were given the opportunity to express recommendations for actions, questioning existing processes and their implementation.
Over the past years, the world witnessed social and political uprisings in the Arab world. Civil Society Organisations were a major force in aggregating protests and formulating demands and have since grown in number – despite some governments trying to prevent civil society activism. Macroeconomic reforms and market liberalisations in some Arab countries before and after the Arab Spring may have opened up opportunities, however, a huge part of the populations is sceptic whether these changes will have positive impact on their economic and social status.
So far, the involvement of civil society in these processes has not been a priority.
To foster the dialogue and the exchange about challenges and needs of the civil society in the MENA region, Candid Foundation and the German Federal Foreign Office wanted to create within the framework of the Deauville Partnership a forum of exchange for representatives of Arab Civil Society Organisations, policy makers, governments, donor institutions, entrepreneurs and international development institutions.
In dialogue with the official representatives from the G7, EU, OECD, IWF and Worldbank, the guests from the Arab civil society developed a guiding document for future partnerships, which was handed over to the German Presidency of the G7 and became part of its offical documentation.
The recommendations can be downloaded here.
Candid Foundation together with Eurasia Partnership Foundation from Armenia and the Humanitarian Research Union NGO from Azerbaijan will be conducting a project to contribute to rapprochement between Armenian and Azerbaijani civil societies.
The people of Armenia and Azerbaijan suffer from the frozen conflict on the Nagorno-Karabakh region. While the conflict dates back more than a century, it turned into an all-out war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1992, Armenia seized the area of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is situated in Azerbaijan but is home to an Armenian majority population. 30.000 people died between 1992 and 1994 and millions more had to flee their homes as the Azeri minority fled Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenians had to flee Azerbaijan. Even today, abandoned buildings in Nagorno-Karabakh bear witness to the horrors of the last war.
Since 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh considers itself an independent state – although not recognized by the international community – while being fully dependent on Armenia. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia consider the region as part of their national territory. The ceasefire has been breached numerous times in the border regions, 2014 being the most deadly year since 1994 with 60 victims.
Despite the ceasefire and occasional meetings between the two heads of state, hardly any exchange takes place between the civil societies: Citizens of Armenia or of Armenian descent are barred from entering Azerbaijan.
Candid wants to open a civic and cultural dialogue between the people of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The idea is to bring together young professionals, who write essays describing their ideas of what life could like in the region if there was a peace agreement. They will spin stories around possible social and economic developments, effects on the border villages and imagine how it might feel to visit the neighbouring country for the first time or to even return home after more than two decades.
Our goal is to create a mosaic of positive visions for a shared future in the South Caucasus. These essays are published both in a book and on this web platform.
As of spring 2015, CANDID took on the editorial responsibility for zenith Magazine, in partnership with the publishing house Deutscher Levante Verlag. Most of CANDID’s founders have written for the magazine beforehand, some of them even were among the founders of Germany’s first and leading magazine specialised in reporting on the Middle East and the wider Muslim world.
Publishing an independent magazine has become increasingly costly over the past couple of years: Instead of opting for classic print advertisement, companies look to buy editorial space in magazines. The founders of zenith have always strongly rejected the idea of publishing biased articles and blurring the lines between content and advertisement. CANDID’s mission is to foster accurate and tangible reporting on complex issues that require time, expertise and endurance: The foundation wants to carry on zenith as a non-for-profit media project.
CANDID is convinced that zenith is filling a niche in the German media landscape given that it is the only special-interest magazine in the market that offers independent, in-depth analysis, investigative research and elaborate comments on current political and economic issues – from multiple perspectives but with a focus on a region in turmoil.
Thus, CANDID thrives to continue the publication of this magazine in the same exceptional quality. Being a non-profit organisation, CANDID has the opportunity to collect donations and secure institutional support for the magazine. In order to sustain zenith, CANDID also started a crowd-funding campaign on startnext.com. The foundation hopes to gather new subscribers and friends who help us raise 120.000 Euros over the next couple of weeks.
CANDID’s founders initiated an inter-disciplinary project in Egypt and Tunisia called »Muwajahat al-Madi – confronted past«. With a group of lawyers, investigative journalists, media and human rights activists, we worked in collecting documents on human rights violations, studying the current state of transitional justice and exploring international options in dealing with the past. The initiative was implemented in 2012 under the auspices of the NGO forum zenith e.V. and has been carried forward by CANDID in early 2015.
With the support of Robert-Bosch-Foundation, CANDID organised a trilateral workshop on »Transitional Justice in Egypt and Tunisia – How to talk about the past«. In March 2015, more than twenty activists, bloggers, youth leaders and lawyers from Tunisia and Egypt gathered in Tunis and discussed their countries’ progress in the field of transitional justice and the current challenges they were facing in their work. Under the guidance of trainers Kora Andrieu, Baraa Zidi and Asiem El Difraoui, the participants explored alternative strategies and unofficial truth processes of different post-conflict countries, practised planning advocacy strategies and developed ideas for creative ways of influencing public opinion despite mainstream media not reporting on transitional justice.
Given the feedbacks of participants and guests of the public panel discussion on the day of the workshop, interest in and need for international exchange with experts and other activists is still great. CANDID is looking forward to continue their work on transitional justice in Egypt and Tunisia in the future.
The CANDID Foundation hosts the 3rd zenith Photo Award on Muslims in Germany in cooperation with zenith Magazine and our partners such as the Vodafone Stiftung Deutschland and Stiftung Mercator. This Award calls on professionals and amateurs alike to wade into the media debate about Muslims, Islam and immigration in Germany today.
The Award ceremony took place in Berlin in March 2015. Popular German talk-show host Sandra Maischberger lauded the three nominees in the category »Professional Photography« before handing the award to Jana Ritchie who had convinced the jury with her intimate portrait series of Ayse-Gül, a young Muslim woman living a pious yet modern life in the German capital.
Retiree Gerhard Bonse succeeded in the category »Amateurs and Young Talents« with pictures of a Cologne Street that had suffered from a hate crime bomb attack ten years before, whereas as the Tilmann-Riemenschneider-Gymnasium Osterode won the online-voting with a series of pictures capturing the adventures of Senegalese pupils who came to Osterode as part of an exchange between the German school and Senegalese schools.
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