Christina Boutros: Facing fears and achieving dreams
Christina Boutros, 23, Lebanon
Marhaba (‘Hello’ in my native language), I am Christina Boutros, a 23-year-old media reporter coming from the heart of the Middle East, Lebanon. I love to introduce myself as a lifelong learner, as I came to believe that life is a continuous learning experience. Everything I learn shapes who I am and defines how I see others and the world around me.
I’m currently researching in the field of data journalism and pursuing my master’s degree in the Sciences of Information and Communication at the Lebanese University. For my capstone project as an undergrad, I have created an award-winning poignant documentary on war journalists. I have also written on a number of important socio-political issues and engaged in international reporting, education and diplomacy programs.
What does it mean to be born in Lebanon?
When you hear about Lebanon, the first word that might come to your mind is war or terrorism. But the truth is different.
In 1982, many Lebanese residents in South Lebanon were forced to move to Beirut and to the northern part of the country due to an Israeli invasion. My family was one of them. They left their land, their homes, their lives and memories to escape the enemy, fear and injustice.
Almost 35 years have passed and I still live in Lebanon where we question our affiliations and relationships with the state everyday and where we fear the “other.” Each community group acts as a nation in itself that has its own vision, laws and expectations of the governing body.
“Stories of hope” created in a 10,452 km2 country
Affected by this reality, I have found a niche in journalism, which I use as a tool to bring about greater social harmony and equity, at a time when Lebanese media outlets have become tools for the current politicians to preach their own perception of reality to the masses. Through my work in journalism, I’ve always wanted to make a difference in issues such as human rights, interfaith cooperation, refugee issues, youth empowerment and environmental sustainability.
In response, I have joined Global Young Voices in 2015. In that global platform, I have found a space to share positive voices of Lebanese youth making a change and bringing their scattered communities together. This was my opportunity to write independently and shed light on the bright side of life in my country.
I have covered various stories for this platform to generate exposure and awareness about sustainable initiatives. I call them “stories of hope” created in a 10,452 km2 country, as they tell how hope is the last thing to die in this world.
A month ago, I received an email stating that “we will represent Global Young Voices at the U.N. Youth Assembly.” These words have left me with mixed feelings, proud and eager to attend such a global conference but nervous to know that without us, youth, no initiative is possible or can be fully achieved.
What kind of world do we want?
If you ask me what kind of world I want, I would say a world of a distinguished mixture of individuals’ unique identities, where I can believe, think and live freely and still respect the others’.
Global Young Voices will also ask this question during the 2017 summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations by running a session titled “A Society For All: Stories From Across Borders.” All of us are invited to submit our stories of youth-led projects on sustainable development that have contributed to bringing communities together.
Let’s all share our stories as I have the strong belief that, through journalism, we can make peace even where there has only been conflict.
All photos in this blog posts are of and credited to the author, Christina Boutros.