iValues digest
iValues Awards Ceremony

iValues Winners!

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The Friedrich Naumann Foundation Middle East & North Africa (FNF MENA) continues to support the active and growing civil society and community of innovators and entrepreneurs across the MENA region. FNF acknowledges their determination and courage in engendering positive change – regardless of the challenges that are facing the region on the security, political, and economic levels. As such they have developed a new initiative called the “iValues: Rethink Politics in MENA” competition, which is in partnership with Innovation in Politics Institute, FNF Madrid and Raseef 22.

On the 26th of October 2021, the finalists made their way to the event, held at The Space- Amman, Jordan, where their ideas where showcased to the attending audience, some of which were policy makers in the MENA & Europe. The audience got the chance to engage and interact with the finalists to gain further insight into their projects and their respective journey throughout the entirety of the competition up until this moment. Not only that, but also, allowing both policy makers and the iValues finalists to be present in the same room would potentially allow some of the finalists to get a chance to connect with the policy makers who could potentially give them the chance to turn ideas into policy projects.

The event was tech-savvy and digitized, a nice touch for some dynamic and interactive ambience, enhancing the overall look and feel of the event and the projects in themselves. The format of the event was made to ensure that the finalists have a final chance to highlight their ideas to the fullest after months of hard work, dedication and rigorous workshops.

The award ceremony kicks off with a speech from Mr. Dirk Kunze, the Director for the FNF Regional Office MENA, as he reflects on the core values of FNF MENA – Innovation and Creativity – by saying: “Any big change always starts with an idea. And behind each idea, is an individual”. He continues by referencing the liberal concept of freedom at the level of the individual, with all their reason, tolerance and responsibilities, they are free to grow and develop. And FNF, stands to empower those who want to truly achieve something.

Another key highlight is Mr. Kunze bringing up with him to stage what was considered the innovation of the era, an old antenna phone, as a reference to showcase that this is truly the era of innovation, by comparing that old phone to the latest iPhones today. Where the “i” in iValues does not only stand for innovation but also inspiration, to inspire and be inspired.

Yara Asmar, the Regional Strategy Manager for FNF MENA, takes the stage and initiates the award distribution ceremony, as she delivers a heart-felt speech, as she talks about the impact that iValues has had on the region, “iValues brought the whole region together!”, followed by honorable mentions of the people responsible for bringing innovators and policy makers from various walks of life together, and those people are “our amazing finalists and their innovative ideas”.

Ms. Asmar is then joined by Marike and Armin who award (Martha Edu Jordan and Hussein Ashi – Mintishreen Lebanon) with the “iValues Award for Policy Making”. This particular award, was a surprise to the iValues participants, as it is a method to commemorate the importance of proactive cooperation between young innovators and policy makers.

On behalf of FNF, Mr. Jules Maaten and Mr. Dirk Kunze commemorate Mrs. Emel Mathlouthi for her advocacy in fighting for freedom of speech and human rights in the MENA region by presenting her with a “Special Recognition” award.

FNF MENA has chosen to recognize Mrs. Emel Mathlouthi with this special award, as she is as well, an innovator. Emel chose music to be her special tool to fight for freedom, “as a girl, being here tonight, it is very important because it means I chose a path, where I can be a rebel and speak up for myself and the voiceless.”. She commissioned her spectacular talent to become the platform for all freedom lovers and freedom seekers. Through her voice, she managed to spread the word of freedom as it echoes all oppressive voices in the MENA region.  

It was now time to start announcing the winners and distributing the awards in the 5 categories.

The iValues: Rethink Politics in MENA will continue its mission to bring initiatives from all over the MENA to life, and will keep moving forward to help build the foundations of the societies of tomorrow.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation has and will continue to introduce and implement innovative projects and initiatives in the MENA. This is done by empowering innovators and local talents with impactful projects, which is made possible through partnering up with Innovation in Politics – Germany. Through which we were also able to connect the iValues participants to a vast network of policy makers and mentors within various fields of expertise to help them make some real change.