The students prepared themselves for the two-day simulation of the Lebanese Parliament on March 21st and 22nd, 2015 during a training phase of eight weeks. Every Saturday, a training session was organized, during which the participants familiarized themselves with:
- The subjects chosen for debate in the different committees
- The Parliamentary Working Procedures and the Standing Orders of the Lebanese Parliament
- The legislative process
- Rhetorical techniques and public speaking
In the beginning of the weekly meetings, the students were split up in the four committees, respecting a gender equality and mixing up students from different cities and from public and private schools.
The four committees and their topics were :
The Committee for Human Rights “Enhancing Human Rights Awareness among the ISF in Lebanon“, The Committee For Environment “Enhancing Waste Management Systems in LebanonThe Committee For Women and Children” Women’s Right to pass on Nationality“ The Committee For Media and Communication „Freedom of the Press and the Problem of Journalistic Self-Censorship.
The aim was to develop a draft bill on the respective committee subject. This draft bill was the result of the participants’ discussions and reflections on the topics and entirely consisted of their ideas and solutions. The draft bill had to be a realistic proposal referring to existing legislations.
The students finalized the draft bill during the last preparation session. The four drafts were presented and discussed in a plenary session, the Simulation of Parliament, on 22nd March. You can find the approved laws in the section “Draft Laws”.
During the preparation phase, experts from civil society organizations shared their knowledge and expertise with the participants and thereby guaranteed the quality of the input provided. The students also had the opportunity of meeting a member of Parliament and asking their questions to MP Ghassan Moukheiber.
The input acquired in the training sessions was substantiated and consolidated through weekly assignments which the participants had to work on throughout the entire implementation phase of the project. These assignments helped them write an individual Position Paper, i.e. a one-page argued statement on the subject discussed in their respective committee.
Besides factual knowledge and skills, the participants were encouraged to express themselves on current political issues and deliver a particular youth perspective on these matters. They exchanged their ideas with other young people from various backgrounds, thereby developing a sense for the necessity of compromise and negotiation.
The team spirit which the participants have forged and experienced while working together in the project shall finally foster a feeling of collective responsibility as the youth of Lebanon, and empower them to actively claim their rights as citizens and to hold politicians accountable.