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Young Jordanians contribute to reform process

Jan 07,2014 - Last updated at Jan 07,2014

At the core of the ongoing reform process is enhancing citizens’ participation in the decision-making process and empowering them to contribute to building their society in a democratic manner.

This reform process, which was launched by His Majesty King Abdullah more than a decade ago and which gained momentum over the past several years, has witnessed milestones: launching a National Dialogue Committee, amending more than one-third of the country’s Constitution and changing key legislation, among many others.

After preparing the required legislative framework, a new Parliament was elected in the January 2013 legislative polls, followed by the formation of a new government through consultations with legislators as a major step towards initiating parliamentary governments.

Throughout, King Abdullah was keen to cement this steady march towards a solid democracy with contacts and discussions with various segments of the Jordanian society.

One such group the King has focused on is the youth, who have to have their say and contributions to shaping the future of the country.

The youth of the Kingdom were never excluded from the democratic process; those above 18 could vote and they are often part of the campaigns and political debates that take place all the time on social media in a free and responsible manner.

Another means to enable the youth to have more say in the democratisation process was introduced by the Democratic Empowerment Programme, “Demoqrati”, launched by King Abdullah in mid-2013.

Under this programme’s Youth Empowerment Windows Initiative, a total of 97 young Jordanians were selected on Sunday to carry out their own initiatives to enhance democratic practices and culture in Jordan.

These young people are to receive grants ranging from JD100 to JD50,000 to put their ideas into practice in various parts of the country.

One of the winning projects is a three-year initiative that aims to motivate young people to express themselves through social media. Another, run under the “Speakers’ Corner”, aspires to spread the culture of dialogue and tackle problems facing young citizens, including violence at universities.

Other projects aim at enhancing women’s participation in political and public life, involving the disabled in and educating schoolchildren on the political process.

These first fruits of the Demoqrati programme should be aided and expanded through all available means. Our young citizens should always be encouraged to have their say and contribution to the political process and to the shaping of the future of the country.

They are among the most capable to diagnose problems facing them and their society, to suggest remedies and be part of the solution.

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