Belabbès Benkredda at 10th GT in AthensBelabbès promotes citizen's participation.
Claudia Leisinger

This Guy Is Mixing Up the Arab Public Sphere

Two years after the start of the Arab Spring in 2010, Belabbes Benkredda founded The Munathara Initiative, the Arab world’s largest debate platform. It aims to give youth, women, and marginalized communities the opportunity to participate in society and politics.

On the Munathara website, everyone can upload a video stating his or her opinion on a given controversial topic like "ISIS Saved the Arab Regimes". The best videos are nominated through an internet voting and its creators are invited to a live television debate. Until now, Munathara has received about 10,000 video submissions, registered 183,000 members and reached an audience of 16 million viewers with their television debates.

Belabbes is deeply convinced that the freedom of opinion and speech are necessary for democratic processes. Only if these freedoms are guaranteed, can citizens who are not opinion leaders become part of a public debate and have influence on the politics and governance of their country. 

Belabbes ideas grew during his studies in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he took part in the courses of Jürgen Habermas about the public sphere. In 2013, Belabbes won The Civic Innovator Award of the National Democratic Institute for his engagement to foster citizen participation.

Belabbes took part in the BMW Foundation Global Table in Athens in June 2017 and is a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network.

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