Salam Shabab

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.

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3 thoughts on “Salam Shabab

  1. John Jeff says:

    I think programs like this demonstrate the potential for reality television and participatory media to make an impact by cultivating the formation of networks among diverse individuals, particularly youth. In the developing world and areas of conflict such programs have the ability to broadcast the process of participatory conflict resolution even to those who cannot participate in it directly.

    The programs also provide examples of figures who viewers can emulate. It represents the formation of an informal network of influence with the capabilities of popularizing peace and conflict resolution.

    It reminds me of how unfortunate it is that we don’t have similar programs in the US…not necessarily programs about conflict resolution, but programs that package high-brown content into a more accessible format that is easily digested by the mainstream population. I think television programs like that could encourage discourse about relevant issues among those who have excluded from the target demographic of traditional (dry) news programs.

  2. globalvicara says:

    Such a cool program and thank you so much for sharing. Too bad I don’t speak Arabic, I really would have liked to understand what they were saying!

    I think Salam Shabab focuses on the most important issue for young people: empowering them to be proactive citizens in their country. I believe that often times our country suffers from a general apathy from the younger generations to engage and be proponents of change. It would be great to have a program like Salam Shabab in the US; would it make our younger generations (and even older ones) more focused on being an active member of society versus debating whether or not Kim Kardashian’s marriage was fake?

    I think our entertainment media has a huge capacity to produce content that could influence the American public in a powerful way. But I don’t see this at all these days. Our reality programming is shameful, mind numbing nonsense that does not inform or educate in a way that is at all beneficial for our society as a whole.

  3. mistertunde says:

    Thanks for sharing this clip Christina. It seems like this show and “Theater of the Oppressed” share many of the same goals. Both examples speak to the power that thoughtful entertainment can have in achieving social progress. The readings for this week, especially the Lauren Frank study, provide another example of the entertainment – in this case it’s an educational tool. I know I am making many seemingly broad statements so I should note that Franks cites many complications that communicators should be aware of before they create health communication campaigns. The Frank piece mentions that India has the third largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, so any tool that works needs to be utilized.

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