Uniting Arabs Worldwide
Founded in 2011 the Munathara Initiative promotes the voices of youth, women and marginalized communities in the Arab public sphere in order to meet their growing desire for participation in society, politics, and governance.
Critical Thinking and Discourse
Arab scholars have a long and storied history of debate, and Munathara is building upon this tradition to support all Arab speaking people to participate in shaping the future of the region. We believe it is more important than ever before for rational, reasoned factually-substantiated discourse to be the forge in which ideas are expounded, tested and improved upon for the benefit of all.
Munathara’s certified outreach trainers provide an all day intensive in which participants learn the value of debate, how to constructively discuss divergent opinions, and how they can shape public discourse. At the conclusion they are invited to submit a video response to our current online competition.
Munathara uses the tools of the social web, in combination with our proprietary video debate platform and live webcasting to encourage Arabic speakers across the world to interact, discuss and learn from each other.
The winners on each side of an online debate are invited to partner with a subject matter expert and engage in a live televised debate that is broadcast throughout the Arab world. With millions of viewers, the live debate amplifies the voice of previously unheard members of society.
Impact & Influence By Numbers
Featured Debate: #DD13: Does a successful democratic transition in the Arab world require the participation of political Islam?
Broadcast to Millions
Through its media partnership with AlJazeera Mubasher and other in-region broadcasters, Munathara broadcasts live televised and online debates on the most pressing issues of the day to tens of millions of people throughout the Arab world. And we’re just getting started.
Munathara in the Media
Since our inception in 2011, The Munathara Initiative and our Musabaqat participants have been featured in more than 100 interviews in 15 countries and 7 languages, providing inspiration to women, youth and other marginalised members of Arab society throughout the world.
Munathara's Media Mentions
Watch Munathara founder Belabbes Benkredda's interview with Al Jazeera Arabic's "The Observatory." The episode examines the history and development of public debate and highlights Munathara's role in creating a culture of debate in the Arab world. Subtitles are available in Arabic and English.
Established & Emerging Leaders
Munathara connects our Musabaqat winners with established political, academic and cultural leaders in order to expand and enhance participant and audience perspectives alike.
Belabbes Benkredda | Founder & CEO
Belabbes Benkredda is an Algerian-German social innovator, writer, television commentator, and government consultant specializing in public diplomacy. Belabbes was a recipient of the 2013 Democracy Award of the National Democratic Institute, and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar.
Non-profit with 501c3 status
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Munathara Initiative?
Munathara is an Arabic language debate initiative combining online video debates and live panel events. For more information, please see our About section.
What is Munathara’s political position?
Munathara has no political position. We are a non-partisan, independent initiative committed only to fostering peaceful debates driven by Arab youth.
Who finances The Munathara Initiative?
Munathara accepts donations from individuals, organizations or businesses that are committed to supporting the emerging free, uncensored public discourse in the Arab region. Further, all donors must agree to our Donor Rules.
When was The Munathara Initiative founded?
The Munathara Initiative was founded in May 2012 in Tunis.
What is the connection between Munathara and Dubai Debates?
Dubai Debates is Munathara’s predecessor organization. It was founded in January 2011 as the first independent public debating forum of the Arab world. It was suspended in the spring of 2012 as part of the UAE’s crackdown on NGOs. Munathara was then founded in Tunis to replace Dubai Debates.
What is an “opinion leader”?
Opinion leaders are active contributors to public discourse whose opinions are viewed in high regard and shared by a significant number people. Opinion leaders are generally chosen by the mass media for us. On the Munathara platform, however, opinion leaders are established based on your vote: anyone can become an opinion leader.
Why 99 seconds?
In order to make contributions comparable, and to keep them focused, it is important to set a maximum limit to the length of user videos. 99 seconds, i.e. one minute and 39 seconds, has proven to be a reasonable time limit for debaters to make a strong argument.
Can I submit my video in a language other than Arabic?
At this stage, we only accept submissions in Arabic language.
Who can submit videos?
Anyone can submit a video to Munathara, as long as contributions are in Arabic and respect our rules for video submissions.
I am not Arab. Can I take part in Munathara?
Yes, as long as your contribution is in Arabic.