A supporter of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsy walks through the streets of Cairo after rioters demanding Morsy’s reinstatement clashed with police, on July 16, 2013.

© 2013 AFP

(Amsterdam) – Reporters, photographers, researchers and activists from the Middle East and North Africa will bring the stories behind the headlines to The Netherlands on June 15, 2014, Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo announced today. Their work will be presented at a festival, Reporting Change – Stories from the Arab Region, at De Melkweg in Amsterdam.

Participants in the festival will bring their perspectives and answers to the questions of whether there is still hope for democracy and change in the region three and a half years after the start of the Arab Spring.

The festival is hosted by Dutch publicist and Arabist Petra Stienen. Key speakers will include Reem Maged, an independent Egyptian TV-reporter and talk show host, and Syrian writer, public intellectual and 2012 Prins Claus Laureate Yassin al Haj Saleh. Lama Fakih, the Syria and Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch, Selim Harbi a documentary photographer from Tunisia, Amna Guellali, Tunisia director at Human Rights Watch, Nadia Benchallal, photographer from Algeria and France, Oualid Khelifi, a freelance reporter from Algeria, Hanan Salah, Libya researcher at Human Rights Watch, Roger Anis, photo journalist from Egypt, Ole Solvang, senior researcher in the Emergencies Division, Human Rights Watch and Magdalena Herrera, director of photography at Geo France will join in discussions.

The documentary film Return to Homs, winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance Film Festival 2014, will be shown. The director, Talal Derki, filmed a group of young revolutionaries in the city of Homs in Syria who first fight for justice through peaceful demonstrations, but then, as the army acts ever more brutally and their city becomes a ghost town, begin to take up arms.

World Press Photo will present the book Stories of Change. The program will also include a play titled We have seen a revolution., starring actresses Nazmiye Oral and Maryam Hassouni. The play was written by Anna Maria Versloot and directed by Pieter Athmer. Waed Bouhassoun, a Syrian singer and songwriter, will give a concert, and Tunisian band A-way Tarik will be the closing act.

Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo have collaborated on Reporting Change to support local photographers and human rights research in the Middle East and North Africa. This work, with a strong focus on multimedia, has been made possible by a grant from the Dutch Postcode Lottery.