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Scottish youth leaders 'connect' with youth in Gaza

May 3, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Brenna Nyznik/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Global Citizen Corps leaders from George Heriot's College in Edinburgh, Scotland with the winning entry (center) from a recent art exhibition. Photo: Brenna Nyznik/Mercy Corps

Last month, Global Citizen Corps leaders from George Heriot's College in Edinburgh, Scotland took part in an exciting event: celebrating their 'common humanity' with youth in Gaza. They did so by hosting an exhibit of a youth photo collection from Gaza, entitled "Recognising our Common Humanity."

The exhibit has been travelling around Edinburgh's schools and community centres for more than a year, making a huge impact in each location. However, this was by far one of the most powerful responses to the photos, as the youth themselves led the action and the results were brilliant!

You can click here for more information about the exhibit — but, for now, we'll let the young people from George Heriot's College tell you their experience in their own words:

As part of the Global Citizen Corps’ program, we were lucky enough to be able to host the photographic exhibition “Recognising Our Common Humanity” in our school over the month of March. The photographs were taken by a group of young people in Gaza and showed images of their world.

What was surprising to us, and those who came along to the exhibition, was that these images were not what we expected from such an area of conflict, but instead showed ordinary people going about their daily lives, working, playing and looking after each other. Some of the pictures were happy, some were sad, but all gave pause for thought.

We wanted everyone in the school, from primary through to senior secondary, to look at the photographs and reflect on what the people who took them wanted us to see. We ran a competition, asking pupils to use the pictures as inspiration to create their own complimentary exhibition and were delighted with the size and range of the response we received.

Many wrote poems and drew pictures whilst others wrote music or made models but our winning entry, a beautifully painted picture of a smiling African woman, stood out. The artist had recognised a theme common to people living in a marginalised society, but had also identified a positive emotion in the photographs and wanted to show that happiness is a human characteristic, shared across the world.

We have learned a lot through our experience of the Global Citizen Corps, working with others in our group, discussing and taking actions on issues that are important to young people here and throughout the world of which the Gaza exhibition, was probably the most significant."