Dossier: More Than A Talkshop

Dossier: More Than A Talkshop

Simulating the Lebanese Parliament

“The Speaker of the House and the Bureau of the Parliament remind you, the parliamentarians, that the floor is now open for amendments”, - sounds of rustling paper resonate in the auditorium of Haigazian University. On this Sunday morning, the air is humming with concentrated whisper as well dressed youth deliberates on modifications for law proposals. 32 young parliamentarians from Tyr, Saida, Tripoli, Mount Lebanon and Beirut convened in Beirut on March 22nd to simulate a plenary session of the Lebanese National Assembly. For two months, the students aged between 15 and 18 years, dedicated their Saturdays to prepare themselves and their draft laws for this day’s plenary session. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT

Photo: Alisha Molter. All rights reserved.

The project aims at sensitizing young people between 16 and 18 for the uniqueness of Lebanon's political system. Similar to a Model United Nations (MUN), the project work results in organizing a two-day simulation of the Lebanese parliament, thereby pursuing a threefold objective:

  1. generating interest for current political, societal and economic issues
  2. generating understanding of the complexity of Lebanon's political system, thefunctioning of parliamentary work and, by consequence, the vital necessity of politicalnegotiation and compromise
  3. generating incentives for innovative and creative solutions to these problems by actively enquiring young people's views and interpretations of political issues

In this respect, the project wishes to sensitize young people to the need for issue-oriented, pragmatic solutions. It hence seeks to make young people realize what unites them as active citizens across religious and confessional frontiers. It thus also helps them understand Lebanon's political system and, by consequence, the concrete practical repercussions it has on citizens' everyday-life.

In order to introduce youth to the parliamentary process and the dynamics of political negotiation, four parliamentary Committees were simulated : The Committee for Human Rights, The Committee of Environment, the Committee for Women and Children and the Committee for Media and Communication.

The whole project was implemented in Arabic, the official language of the Lebanese Parliament. 

The Participants

The Preparation Phase

Committees and Members 

Working Procedure

The Committee Directors

Invited Experts

Acknowledgments

 

Position Papers

Human Rights Committee Position Papers:

Dima El-Hariri

Sabah Abd Ellatif

Women and Children Committee Position Papers:

Hiba Al-Sabbagh

Leen Abdul Jawad

Environment Committee Position Papers:

Fatima M. Al-Shami

Youssef M. Fawaz