Model Youth Parliament 2020
If February 28 was a normal day for you, well, it was an extraordinary one for 100 USJ (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth) students participating in this year’s edition of MYP. On that day, they changed their identities and embraced new ones for the next 4 days. They were not students anymore; they forgot their political affiliations, their university majors and embarked on a journey of being Lebanese Members of Parliament with a political and ideological background they did not choose by conviction but by chance.
The program was launched by the opening words of FNF’s MENA Regional Director, Mr. Dirk Kunze and USJ’s Student Life Coordinator, Ms. Gloria Abdo. The participants were then initiated to Empathy and Democracy by Ms. Johanna Bou Rjeili from the Professional Center of Mediation at USJ, who organized a number of exercises getting them ready for what was going to happen next, the draw of new identities.
The highlight of that day was the presence of Lebanese MP, Elias Hankach, who introduced the students to the basics of parliamentary work and shared with them his experience that would be of great help for their journey in the coming days.
During the three first days, the new MPs debated, negotiated and lobbied in favour of the amendments they want to vote in parliament. They were assisted by USJ professors and Alumni, experts on different topics, who transferred a lot of knowledge the young MPs would need to do the job right.
The last working day, was concluded with a Gala dinner, where our new MPs enjoyed their time, but also continued the negotiations informally. After all, they were preparing for the big day.
On March 2nd, at 9:00 a.m. the 100 MPs were ready for the plenary session that was presided by MP Elias Hankach who played the role of the President of the Chamber. The “ordre du jour” included discussions about the Amnesty law, Banking Secrecy law, Anti-Corruption law and Electoral law. The debate was heated and each Political Party was able to convey their point of view and either encourage or discourage other MPs to vote the law.
Finally, a certificate ceremony took place at FNF’s Garage 664. 20 participants received an excellence certificate for their engagement and hard work during the program, from which the five most distinguished will go on a visiting program to Berlin, Germany to discover the German parliament, meet German Members of Parliament and have an overview of how other parliaments work in practice.