My name is Mu’tasim Mahadeen, I am from Jordan and one of the 2020 IAF Alumni. I was interested in participating in the IAF program because I am a liberal and I work in the field of civic engagement and political participation, especially with youth and civil society organizations in the MENA Region. I really learned a lot during the seminar from both, the academic and the practicum components. Talking about my experience in general, I liked the flow of the program, the chosen topics, the learning facilities, as well as the diverse among the participants – their countries, backgrounds, political perspectives, fields of work, and cultures – and that made the seminar very interactive and productive, and of course I learned new things from each one of the participants.
The most interesting topics to me were the role of storytelling in politics, how liberals see the world, the values of liberals and populists, how populists talk, political communication, how populists use information, and the politics of populism. Walking through these topics gave me a clear understanding about populism machine, and what I should develop as a liberal to enhance the liberal democracy in Jordan and MENA Region. One of the best results of the seminar was impacting my own political attitude to work at the grassroots level in parallel with the decision makers’ level to convince people that "liberalism is the way to be free and the way to be active in changing your life.”