MENA youth forum for democracy: A regional exchange

Students from our Jordan and Tunisia Schools of Politics have now come together to exchange ideas in two regional forums. The first was held in Tunisia on 20-25 October, with the second taking place in Jordan on 13 and 17 November.

The meetings are the first in a series of regional forums, which will give aspiring young leaders from Tunisia and Jordan the chance to share experiences and strengthen their knowledge of regional issues and democratic practices.

20 promising students were picked from each School of Politics to take part in the exchanges.

The programmes so far

The regional forums, which NIMD organized in cooperation with its Tunisian Partner, CEMI, are to be the first step in many similar activities that will foster dialogue between politically active youth from the MENA region.

In the first forum, in Tunisia, the participants bonded through group discussions and interactive sessions on a number of topics, including:

  • major trends, opportunities and obstacles in the region
  • women in politics
  • the partisan system
  • what makes a democracy participatory

Building on the first session, the second session invited the Jordanian and Tunisian teams to explore the key skills needed for their political careers, including digital campaigning and public speaking.

What next?

A third session will be held in the Hague in the Netherlands in early December 2019. Here, the teams will meet Dutch parliamentary and governmental figures and will discuss established laws and norms as well as tools for effective democratic work.

The regional forums in practice

In bringing politically active youth from Tunisia and Jordan together, the regional forums aim to promote exchange between youth in both countries. Together, these young people can address the obstacles to inclusive political systems; share best practices in youth political career development; and become empowered through knowledge about each other’s countries and other democracies, such as the Netherlands.

Just as importantly, they will have time to address regional problems in groups and come up with practical innovative solutions together.

And they will strengthen their democratic culture and values, taking what they have learned back to their own countries.

In this way, NIMD hopes that the forums will become an innovative platform that strengthens future leaders, giving them the tools to become both ambassadors for multiparty democracy and advocates of inclusive politics.