The National Democratic Institute NDI in Beirut organized a round table discussion with youth in Lebanon who are active with political parties as well civil society organizations, in order to discuss “Youth Participation in Politics in Lebanon”. World Youth Alliance Middle East was present and participated during the panel discussion as part of the Lebanese social society, and as the main organizations that work on Youth Empowerment.
Many active and motivated young people participated in this event and tackled different topics and issues, and showed interest in improving young people’s participation in politics as well as helping them be active and present in the decision making process.
Many sub-topics were tackled throughout the meeting. The fist topic was about the challenges that prevent youth from participating in politics. This topic was very heated and it showed how eager and determined the participants were. The main topics discussed challenges and issues about the electoral law, economic issues, the political system, family, sectarianism, etc.
The second part of the discussion raised the question of the youth’s drive to participate in political life. Most of the participants showed optimism and hopefulness. The main drive to be politically active for most of the participants is the belief that there is still hope to improve the country and build a better future. Another reason was the need to work on implementing youth policies because they are almost nonexistent. Likewise, many participants agreed that almost all people in power and who are making laws and decisions are old and the youth should become more active participants in making laws and taking the lead.
At the end, 4 groups were formed to propose solutions to enhance youth’s participation in politics. Some of the main solutions and recommendations were:
Overall, the round table discussion was successful. Regardless of their ideological and political affiliations, participants demonstrated respect and excellent communication skills despite differing opinions and perspectives.
This indeed, gives hope to Lebanon, as these young active people are the future of the country.