13.08.2016 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

UNESCO and the Municipality of Hazmieh celebrate International Youth Day

© UNESCO Beirut 2016

In light of its commitment to building youth capacities and to further increase their engagement in the civil society and more importantly in their community, UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut in collaboration with Hazmieh Municipality, organized a celebration for the International Youth Day at the Municipality building in Hazmieh in the presence of many prestigious personal, most notably / such as the former Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud.

The celebration that took place on 11th August 2016 in the Hazmieh Municipality, gathered eminent personal and individuals from various sectors under the banner of ‘Youth’s Role in Local Governance’. UNESCO and the Municipality of Hazmieh, in collaboration with the Shiah and Furn El Shebak Municipalities, joined their efforts on this day to promote the importance of youth civic engagement.

The aim of the celebration was to stress upon the importance of youth’s role nowadays in participating in local decision making processes, which would further protect their rights to representation in the various aspects of their community as well as promote their capabilities and would help in conveying these young people’s opinions and views to a higher level of authority.

The ceremony included speeches by a number of organizers and participants in the event, including, President of the Municipal Council in Hazmieh Jean Elias EL-Asmar, Representative of the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut George Awad and former Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud. El-Asmar opened the ceremony by confirming the willingness of the Hazmieh Municipality to adopt the suggestions and proposals made by youth in the Municipal Council. Awad continued and emphasized the essentiality of young men and women in the growing and development of the society. And finally, Baroud expressed his faith in the youth ability to change the path towards which local governance is heading.

The event also included a panel discussion entitled “Youth Experiences in Public Affairs” moderated by journalist and news presenter Cynthia El-Asmar. The panel gave a platform of freedom for its participants to express their opinions and share their experiences. Dr. Paul Morkos elaborated upon the importance of decentralization in local development; Dr. Mona El-Zoghbi explained, through reference to the NET-MED project, the role of international organizations in supporting and encouraging youth; Dr. Ramzi El-Hajj shed light on today’s reality regarding youth civil participation which later gave way for Dr. Bachir Odeimy to talk about the role of local development offices in promoting youth participation in local governance.

The ceremony ended with the launching of the Municipality’s next project “Educating the Youth on Municipal Work and Interaction with Local Public Affairs”, which targets individuals between 21 – 35 year-old. This initiative is based on the establishment of a “Youth Shadow Local Council” that would correspond with the actual local council in order to voice the youth views and opinions. The aim of this project will be to build the capacities of young women and men and prepare them to become more engaged in the decision making processes on the local level as well as encourage them to interact with the local public authorities by providing them with appropriate local participation opportunities.

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