Beirut - Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s regional office in Beirut has launched the second cohort of its We Are Not Numbers (WANN) project, aiming to train young Palestinian victims of violations to write their stories in English.

Ten young Palestinians joined the new cohort, three of whom reside in Lebanon, while the rest are from other countries including the United States, Türkiye, and Malaysia. The group is poised to join the 18th WANN cohort in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), which is made up of 22 additional young people.

Over the next six months, participants will engage in intensive training focused on creative and journalistic writing, public speaking and debating, addressing the international media, international law, and human rights.

   WANN follows a human rights approach that delves beyond numbers, statistics, and news reports about Palestinians   

WANN was established by Euro-Med Monitor in January 2015, just months after the 50-day Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip in July-August 2014; the attack caused the deaths of 2,147 Palestinians and the injury of 10,870 others. The project aims to alleviate victims’ feelings of isolation, especially as Euro-Med Monitor gathered testimonies during and after the 2014 attack in which victims said they felt “isolated from the world” and treated “like numbers” by the international media.

To assist and support Palestinian youth in sharing personal stories and the stories of their communities, WANN follows a human rights approach that delves beyond numbers, statistics, and news reports about Palestinians. In its essence, WANN seeks to engage the profound emotional and intellectual dimensions of individual writers’ multifaceted experiences, aspirations, and concerns.

WANN’s mission is to create a new generation of writers and thinkers who can bring profound change to the reality of victims by empowering them to make their voices heard, and providing the international community with direct access to Palestinian narratives without restrictions or intermediaries.

Members of the 18th cohort will undergo a three-phase programme, beginning with intensive training sessions, meetings, and seminars in which they will learn and sharpen their linguistic, creative, and leadership skills. Workshops are led by experts who are either professional writers based in the oPt, primarily in the Gaza Strip, or international journalists or authors.

Next, the young writers will be paired with native English-speaking mentors, who will provide personalised guidance and masterful feedback to help them refine their skills and create impactful narratives.

The final phase of the programme involves publishing participants’ stories on WANN’s official website, as well as providing them with opportunities to publish professionally with partners and agencies. Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor invites readers interested in the work of previous cohorts to visit the We Are Not Numbers website.