In light of the readings on development communications and both presentations this week (one on reality TV in the Middle East and one participatory theater), I wanted to take an opportunity to write a blog about Salam Shabab, reality TV show featuring youth from all over Iraq competing to become ambassadors of peace. According to the website, “They can express who they are and say what they think about building peace in Iraq. Salam Shabab is a way for the next generation of Iraqi leaders to have their voices heard. The mission of Salam Shabab is to build the foundations for peace by empowering Iraqi youth to be confident, responsible and participatory citizens of their society.” Additionally, Salam Shabab uses social media to serve as an online community for Iraqi youth to discuss conflict issues. Salam Shabab is a U.S. Institute of Peace endorsed program. Here is a video about Salam Shabab.
The reality series serves an entertainment purpose, but helps to address serious issues at the same time. It combines aspects of reality TV in the region addressed in the presentation in class with aspects of participatory conflict resolution through a platform similar to theater. I think that it incorporates positives of reality TV such as imagined community building and is effective in addressing gender issues and ethnic and religious divides.