A Decade of Peace in the Middle East

A Final Project for the YaLa Peace Institute: “What is your vision of the MENA region in the year 2025 (if peace were to be established today) building on what you have learned from the YaLa Peace Institute?”

by Zakaria Al-Shmaly (Syria)


A brief history:

Twenty-sixth of August 2015, the day when the leaders of the Middle East agreed to set down on a negotiation table, and work on a solution to end the devastating dispute that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

The process was not simple, and required internal agreements before reaching out to the neighboring countries. At the time, five countries of the area were facing internal conflicts (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine), and the threat of conflict expansion was at its limit.

Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon were the previous counties of what is now Kurdistan, the Islamic State, the Alawite State, and the Druze State, which later joined Israeli State. Allowing independence for these countries sat an end of the modern five-year religious and ethnic conflict in the area, and marked the territorial borders for every state. Meanwhile in Palestine, Hamas and IDF agreed to a cease-fire, and began the official negotiations regarding areas of influence, and ended the dispute of last century.

Neighboring countries supported the transition, as Turkey gave independence to the southern areas of Hatay province to join the Alawite State, and the southeastern area of Diyar Bakir to join Kurdistan. Dividing the Middle East according to religious or ethnic basis was the first step towards recognizing the states of Israel and Kurdistan, and to accept their role in accomplishing peace.

Asylum, no more:

“Middle Easteners” from all over the world visit their hometowns on this day [every year] to celebrate the day their nations decided to follow the path of peace. Over 70% of asylum seekers in Europe migrated back to their homelands now that it is safe.

On the bright side, the countries have dedicated a sector of their financial assets to help refugees from countries in dangerous areas. “No one knows what it is like to seek refuge like people of the Middle East,” said the president of the Middle Eastern Peacekeeping Committee. He continued by stating that Middle Eastern countries will repay their debt to the world by supporting the humanitarian needs instead of the war machine.

The Middle Eastern Union agreed on a united currency for all of the union’s countries, and now is supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in war-torn areas in Africa.

What made the difference?

“I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” was one of the first slogans to be raised by the youth who were seeking a peaceful future. This mentality amongst the young generation was supported by NGOs and peace institutes such as the YaLa Peace Institute, which provided training programs for young peacemakers and researchers in order to achieve peace.


To learn more about the YaLa Peace Institute in Honor of Nelson Mandela, click here.

To view more final projects, click here.