2016 Goldberg Prize Winners
Sarah Perle Benazera and Ohood Murqaten, Co-Chairs of the YaLa Young Leaders Core Leadership Group, received the 2016 IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East for their roles leading the charge for peace and positive social change in their communities and in the region. YaLa Young Leaders is the broadest and fastest-growing Middle East peace movement today, with nearly a million members from all across the MENA region.
YaLa is an online movement led by young adults, for young adults, focusing on dialogue and engagement as a means to securing a safe, productive, and peaceful region, capitalizing on the catalyzing power of social networks, media and technology to lead their generation to a better future. Sarah and Ohood coordinate a diverse Middle Eastern team of administrators who manage the YaLa Young Leaders' Facebook page, reaching an average of 65,000 people per day. During times of high tension in the region, the YaLa page provides a safe environment for young people on both sides to search for a different point of view on the situation, and to find partners for dialogue.
Goals of the Prize
- To advance the cause of peace in the Middle East
- To bring people together across religious, cultural, ethnic, and political divides
- To break down barriers of hate towards "the other"
- To recognize innovation and reward those who are courageous and committed enough to work to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic and political issues which divide the region
- To inspire others in the U.S. and the Middle East
- To motivate current and future IIE grantees to work toward peace in the Middle East