Hajer Sharief: How to use family dinner to teach politics
As an activist promoting human rights in Libya and beyond, Hajer Sharief works against society's flow -- and across generations -- to find solutions. Full bio
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called "Friday Democracy Meetings."
came together for an official meeting
by one of my parents,
to speak open and freely.
to criticize our parents
disrespectful or rude.
stays in the meeting.
in these meetings
what food we wanted to eat,
pretty much events that happened at school
disputes between siblings,
we'd reach decisions and agreements
until the next meeting.
I was raised as a politician.
I mastered politics.
with other political actors.
the political process.
civil and democratic, right?
to talk, discuss and criticize,
really horrible at school,
to bring it up in the meeting.
and boycott the whole system.
and handed it to my dad,
attending these meetings anymore,
made decisions that I disliked.
about 13 years old,
one of these meetings again,
that was affecting me only,
was bringing it up.
who was asked to wash the dishes,
anything about it.
unfair and discriminatory,
or a girl's role to do household work
by many societies for so long,
to challenge it, I needed a platform.
were washing the dishes,
that my brothers should assist me.
so the problem continued.
I decided to attend another meeting
that would be fair to everyone.
used by all the family members,
should wash their own dishes.
could no longer argue
and clean after the family,
was about every member of the family
and taking care of themselves.
our washing-the-dishes system.
is a family story,
from different backgrounds,
an equal opportunity to contribute
and influence the decisions
directly or indirectly.
when I hear young people saying,
or to even hold a political opinion."
I don't want to engage with,"
and political engagement
in many parts of the world
for them to participate in politics,
women and ordinary people in general:
or not to participate in politics?
it's caring for the facts.
through which we structure ourselves
to decide on what you can eat, where,
on whether your race and ethnicity
is enough to put you on a terrorist list.
independent human being
as a young woman from Libya,
in the middle of a civil war.
of authoritarian rule,
where political engagement
is possible, nor encouraged.
that took place in the past few years,
middle-aged men in the room.
political system like Libya,
including international organizations,
for political decision-making
by the few for the few.
almost exclusively men,
that are based on the opinions,
some version of this sentence:
let alone a young person, who is brown,
say, "But you lack political experience."
are they referring to?
of economic profits
have no political experience at all.
the only ones to blame,
and many young people as well,
don't know how to participate.
and how to be part of it.
mini political system
that affect all members of the family,
that affect the whole nation,
very little say in them.
this change systematically,
and global affairs
as personal and family affairs.
my proposal and advice is,
to exercise their agency
you need to participate,
and have to go back again.
in family conversations,
in political conversations.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERHajer Sharief - Activist
As an activist promoting human rights in Libya and beyond, Hajer Sharief works against society's flow -- and across generations -- to find solutions.
Why you should listen
When Hajer Sharief was young, she had no risk assessment skills. If she felt like jumping from a cliff, she did so without thinking of the consequences. As an older and wiser activist, she tends to balance risks -- but she still actively keeps an element of risk-free thinking when it comes to doing the right thing.
As cofounder of the Together We Build It Foundation, an intergenerational organization working to builds peace in Libya, Sharief promotes human rights, gender equality and political participation. Doing the right thing regardless of risk remains her life principle, and activism remains her lifestyle -- one that helps individuals become aware of their responsibility towards humanity and the environment.
Hajer Sharief | Speaker | TED.com