MENA Regional Forum: Young aspiring leaders visit the Netherlands

Last week, NIMD was proud to welcome young participants from the Jordan School of Politics (JSoP) and Tunisia School of Politics (TSoP) to The Hague. The participants took part in a week of intensive training and exchange meetings with political actors in the Netherlands.

The exchange is part of a series of regional forums, designed to give aspiring young leaders from Tunisia and Jordan the chance to share experiences and strengthen their knowledge of democratic practices.

The agenda

Hailing from a broad spectrum of parties and ideologies in both countries, the students were pleased to have another chance to come together and share their experiences. The exchange provided time for participants to both learn from each other and explore the Dutch political landscape, including its strengths and weaknesses.

As part of this second objective, the participants spent time with the Municipality of Delft and its young local councilors. Through this informal exchange of thoughts between young people from Jordan, Tunisia and the Netherlands, the participants were able to draw comparisons with their own work and think of ways to act on what they learned.

In addition, the participants enjoyed a tour of the Parliament by Dutch organization ProDemos, as well as exchanging views on party structures and financing with Dutch parties D66 and PvdA.

Lastly, after training on resolving disputes and political communications, the participants took part in a working dinner on ‘connecting youth to politics and politics to youth’. Here, they discussed how to overcome barriers for youth to engage in formal politics in both Jordan and Tunisia.

The regional forums

In 2019, NIMD established a series of Regional Forums to encourage cooperation among young people involved in formal political life in the MENA region.

Young people in the Middle East and North Africa face a multitude of barriers to inclusion in formal politics. By bringing politically active youth from Tunisia and Jordan together, the 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.

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.