The Simulating Egyptian Transition project offers young Egyptians the opportunity to study social conflicts in the context of simulation games and to come up with proposals for solutions together. Around 300 participants took part in a total of 13 workshops throughout Egypt last year with the support of the Federal Foreign Office.
What does an open and tolerant society look like? How can social conflicts be resolved and actors from the worlds of business, politics and civil society be brought to the table? Around 300 Egyptian young people were given a hands-on introduction to conflict resolution and prevention strategies last year. They all participated in one of a total of 13 workshops taking place throughout Egypt, which were organised by the non-profit association CRISP and the Egyptian Center for Development Services (CDS). The series of simulation games was supported by the zivik programme of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.
Social conflicts in Zamposia
The specially developed simulation game takes place in the fictional country of Zamposia – the demographic, economic and socio-cultural key data, as well as Zamposia’s political system, reflect the current situation in Egypt, however. During the simulation game, the participants are invited to examine social conflicts and, ideally, to arrive at a joint, viable solution.
The participants analyse the decision-making process together during the final assessment of the simulation game. Democratic principles and the role of civil society are also discussed in the process.
The participants believe that the Simulating Egyptian Transition project has helped them to achieve a greater understanding of social participation at a number of different levels: “Thanks to the simulation game, I have become much more aware of my rights as a citizen and have come away with a number of ideas about the contribution that I myself can make to society”, said Samaher Gamal (22) from Aswan. Zina El Nahel (25), from Cairo, said that the opportunity to find out first hand about the needs of young people from Upper Egypt was an extremely enriching experience.
Creating civil society networks
CRISP project manager Andreas Muckenfuss highlights an important aspect of the project, namely the fact that young socially active people with an interest in politics from throughout Egypt can meet here, establish contacts and discuss different problems in their communities. In a large country like Egypt, there is a great interest in taking advantage of such an opportunity. The organisers received over 600 applications for the 13 simulation games last year.
The Nadi El Mohakah club (Simulation Gamers Club Egypt), which intends to host the Zamposia simulation game in the future, was set up at the end of the project. The club comprises some 30 trainers from various regions of Egypt who completed training on the simulation game method last year. These trainers will now organise the simulation games throughout Egypt – in cooperation with the various youth centres that have been set up and managed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in recent years.
Vision for Egypt in 2025
The aim is for the Simulating Egyptian Transition project to be continued directly in order to pursue these thought processes. A decision was taken to draw up a Vision for Egypt in 2025 as a follow-up project. The project will ask participants how they envisage peaceful coexistence among all Egyptians in the year 2025. Participants will work together to draw up recommended courses of action for civil society, the donor community, the private sector and state actors during the project.
“As a civil society, it is important for all of us to try and pull in the same direction and coordinate our efforts”, said Kazem Hemeida, project coordinator at the Center for Development Services. “We intend to try and win over business and state actors for a joint vision in the process.”