Empowering neglected voices
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.
Reviving Arab debate culture
Arab scholars have a long and storied history of debate, and Munathara is building upon this tradition to support all Arabic speakers to participate in shaping the future of the region. We believe it is more important than ever before for rational, reasoned and constructive 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 a 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 policy maker and engage in a live, televised debate that is broadcast throughout the Arab world. With millions of viewers, the debates amplify the voices of previously unheard members of society. Munathara’s live shows are the only civil society-run political talk program on Arabic television.
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
At a time of hyper-partisanship and ever-intensifying polarization in the Arab media sphere, Munathara has built the only independent political talk program anywhere on Arabic television. Through media partnerships, the programs are syndicated in a growing number of countries, rebuilding some of the shared reality that has gone lost in the region’s conflict-ridden information space. Our reach is growing - 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, providing inspiration to women, youth and other marginalised members of Arab society throughout the world.
Watch Munathara founder Belabbes Benkredda explain how Munathara is disrupting the Arab public sphere. This talk was recorded at Stanford University’s Omidyar Network Leadership Forum, held in September 2017 in Tunis.
Established & Emerging Leaders
Munathara connects its young online debate 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 Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School.
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 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.