“Many youth across the MENA region (and indeed around the world) are using social media – including Facebook, Twitter and other platform to share messages, photos and videos of peace and religious tolerance. While these are not necessarily coordinated actions or actions undertaken as part of a movement but individuals who have tried to counter violence through their personal actions,” said to the participants in the Summer academy for Strengthening Democracy in the Euro-Med Region Ms. Shana Kaiser, who is Acting Regional Director of the West Asia and North Africa Programme at International IDEA. Her lecture was devoted to the threats and opportunities provided by social media. It is estimated for example that ISIS sends approximately 90,000 social media messages per day in order to target these disaffected youth through propaganda. They have between 500-3000 users who tweet the same content over and over all day long in order to trend and aggregate data and affect searches on social media. This shows how social media can be used by various terrorist organizations for propaganda. At the same time, however, they could be effective channel to counter violence. Ms. Kaiser told the participants of multiple initiatives in all countries of the MENA which opposed to the conflicts in the region.
The topic of social media was part of the main focus during the day dedicated to security in Euro Med. In the morning the participants in the Summer Academy had a lecture on the main security threats delivered be the Chairmen of the Sofia Security Forum Mr. Yordan Bozhilov. In addition to this he explained what are the major security trends in the European Union and NATO.
The day continued with a lecture about communication in a multicultural environment, represented by prof. Ivanka Mavrodieta, professor of rhetoric at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “. Mediators Ms. Albena Komitova and Ms. Sevdalina Alexandrova delivered a lecture on conflict managment and negotiations with an accent on international negotiations.