Olivebranch Network is born

In early January, I announced a competition to find a young journalist keen to develop his or her skills and an opportunity to start a website, display their work and develop a unique voice away from the corporate media.

I received a number of applications, many of whom could have been worthy winners. However, a decision had to be made.

The winner is Luke Skinner, a 19-year-old living in Perth. I discovered his blog and found his activism and attitude infectious. He has a deep interest in the Middle East and Western involvement in the region. He campaigned strongly against the Iraq war. He told me he wanted to bring reason to the debate over the Middle East by launching a website dedicated to new voices in the blogsophere. Olivebranch Network was born.

Read the reasons behind the network. He hopes to address some of the key issues facing Iraq by featuring the words of Iraqi nationals and a US soldier stationed in the country. Let Luke explain:

“At a time in world history where the Middle East is of upmost importance to global politics and economics, knowledge about Middle Eastern culture amongst the general public in the West is increasingly important, yet extremely limited. This network is an attempt to fill the void and educate those who care, who in turn will educate those who don’t. Ignorance is the cause of most racism and hostilities globally, be it in the East, West, North or South and the only way to combat it is with knowledge and education. This is why the Olivebranch Network is necessary.”

The network regularly uploads new articles, so keep in touch. It’s a fascinating project and one I hope prospers and develops.