Conference seeks to bridge gap between youth and political systems

1. Conference Day Two Hashem
(Photo: Hashem El-Sharif/Jordan News)
AMMAN — A two-day conference on the political participation of youth in the MENA region, organized jointly by the Norwegian embassy and Al-Quds Center for Political Studies concluded in Amman on Sunday with the participation of media professionals, politicians, and professors who sought to find solutions to youth abstinence from engaging in political life.اضافة اعلان

Founder of Al-Quds Center for Political Studies Oraib Rantawi said the aim of the two day meeting was to explore the reasons behind youth’s engagement in civil society and in social media, but not in political parties as a means to express themselves and voice their opinions and political concerns.

Rantawi said he brought together “a rich diversity of voices from the Arab world to try and explain why youth fail to engage in politics.” He said that many young men and women take part in political movements, but the question is “are these movements sufficient for the youth to achieve their goals!”

He said the focus was on identifying the shortcomings facing the youth in political life, and attempting to bridge the gap between the youth and their respective political systems.

Although there are commonalities between countries of the region, the answers differed from one country to the other.

The youth from Sudan, Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon, and Jordan engaged in conversations on the political, social, and economic situation in their respective countries and agreed that there were common factors that contribute to the disinterest in engaging in politics, primarily economic hardships resulting from unemployment and lack of job stability, coupled with of a sense of being disenfranchised and marginalized by the system.

They also listed other factors like loss of faith — although in varying degrees — in the political systems of their countries as well as lack of knowledge and awareness in the workings of their governments, pointing to the need for higher education institutions to focus more on political education.

In the case of Algerian youth, for example, participants elaborated on the influence of Algeria’s military institutions on the country’s politics, which they said surely plays a role in their hesitation to get politically involved.

In the context of Sudan, participants praised the youth for the role they played in orchestrating recent political revolutions, notably the 2018 revolt that disposed of President Omar Al-Bashir, but wondered why their engagement was not sustained.

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