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CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE “YOUTH POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS” PROJECT

CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE “YOUTH POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS” PROJECT

The “Youth Political Participation in Elections” project, implemented by Rashad Center for Cultural Governance within Adyan Foundation and in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, celebrated the conclusion of its activities with an exceptional closing ceremony and exhibition on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024, at the Beirut Metropolitan Hotel in Sin El Fil.

Lebanese youths from all over Lebanon were invited to join a virtual journey through a social media campaign and competition supported by several regional influencers. This event brought together young men and women, representatives from international non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and activists on this journey across Lebanese regions.

The ceremony started with guests joining the “Bosta,” an old tourist bus where invitees tested their knowledge of Lebanon’s diverse municipalities.

Following this, invitees had the opportunity to explore eight community initiatives led by participants in this project from dif
ferent areas of Lebanon by directly engaging with representatives of these initiatives.

The closing ceremony started with a speech from Mr. ‘Fadi Badran’, Programs Manager at Rashad Center, mentioning that ‘We, at Adyan Foundation, believe that young people are real agents of change in the society, and therefore we seek to empower them and support their voices to influence decision-makers based on Adyan’s values: Diversity, Solidarity and Human Dignity’.

Then in his remarks, Mr. Maxence Dublain, Programme Manager at the European Union Delegation to Lebanon addressed the young men and women saying: ‘You have an enormous power in your hands. You have a big role to play in participating to enhancing the democracy in Lebanon, in asking for more accountability and for more local governance. You also have a direct role to play the day you enter for the first time or not into a polling station and cast your vote. So, my recommendation is for you to use that power of making your voices heard’.

UNDP’s Resident Repr
esentative a.i, Mr. Mohammed Saleh’s, focused on the importance of the youth ideas and plans, and said: ‘UNDP recognizes that young people are positive agents of change and represent an immense and valuable potential that governments and institutions should nurture and invest in. Youth are a driving force for sustainable development and key agents for social change, economic growth, and technological innovation. By listening to their plans, ideals and dreams we are inspired and eager to continue this journey together assuming that we are not far from the day when they will lead the way and we will follow’.

And finally, Ms. Julie Southfield, Mission Director at USAID, delivered a speech stating that: “The United States Government, through USAID, has long engaged young people, believing in their ability to contribute to and advance their own health, education, employment, and civic life, as well as that of their families and their country…Our objective behind today’s initiative is to stimulate young people’s
interest in becoming agents of constructive change in political life, especially as the municipal elections draw near. Additionally, we endeavor to raise awareness about the role of municipalities and the importance of responsible voting in the upcoming elections.”

Subsequently, glimpses of initiatives executed by 14 young men and women who participated in this training were presented. Through these initiatives, they spread awareness to encourage youth in their respective towns to participate in the upcoming municipal elections. These youth initiatives included training sessions, a bike tour to raise awareness about municipal roles, rights, and responsibilities, a public transportation campaign targeting women’s participation in municipal elections, public seminars with municipal officials, a global social media campaign promoting civic engagement, and other interactive activities aimed at keeping young people connected and involved in municipal affairs.

The event concluded with a panel discussion on the im
portance of Lebanese youth participation in municipal elections, nomination, and voting, correcting misconceptions, embracing responsibilities, fostering informed decision-making, and empowering youth to recognize the importance of their role in shaping the future of their country. Certificates were distributed to the youth at the official closing ceremony.

The “Youth Political Participation in Elections” project aims to empower Lebanese youth to actively participate in elections as voters, candidates, or observers, especially in the upcoming municipal elections.

As part of the project, over 200 young men and women from various regions of Lebanon attended intensive training sessions focused on decentralization, accountability, local administration formation, and municipal electoral law. Rashad Center also developed a comprehensive guidebook on municipal law, local governance, and decentralization as a key reference for youth on municipal work, municipal law, and municipal elections.

Source: National News
Agency – Lebanon