This post will be about the sub sessions I attended in day 1. I will try to remember what we came up with and compare it to the final suggestions that were read to us at the closing session of the Jordan Youth Forum.

The first day I attended a sub session on corruption, moderated by Jihad Al Momani. Then I attended the one on violence and bigotry moderated by Ibrahim Al Hayek.

As I entered the first sub session I wasn’t expecting much, I had no idea how the session would be. The seats were all taken, a few people standing and sitting on the floor. The seats were lined up in a U-shape with the moderator and note taker at the end. The majority of people in this session were in their 30s and some in their 40s. The moderator talked for a bit then give us the chance to talk and discuss things.

Comments on that session:

– Not everyone got the chance to talk.

– Just like all other session, 2 hours can never be enough for 50 people to fully dicuss anything, not even the weather.

– Only a few people had the courage to call things for what they are, many refused to give names when talking about certain corruption cases in the country.

– One guy suggested that everyone has access to anonymously send online emails or fill forms and send them to the anti-corruption commission. He felt that an online platform can make complaints about corruptions become simpler and easier to bring forward, as well as solving the issue of fear. Such direct and active suggestions for example were completely ignored when it came time for the final suggestions.

– There was a lot of talk about ‘transparency’, an overused word that no one applies. We were demanding transparency when it comes to corruption cases in a forum that was not transparent.

– The moderator was very articulate and it was apparent that he was knowledgeable, but he also felt a little fake to me personally.

– Many people mentioned municipalities and their various ways of ‘stealing’ money that is known to most of us, especially when it comes to surfacing roads and building then demolishing then rebuilding sidewalks again. One tiny example is the crossroads right in front of Queen Alia Military Hospital, a big roundabout then they removed it and built a smaller roundabout, then they removed it and built a smaller one with a U-turn then they removed all that and put a normal crossing with traffic lights. Never mind them billing extra on that, just consider the poor planning and having to build 4 alternatives then settling on one. Point is, monitoring municipalities and especially higher level individuals in the municipality was nowhere on the final list.

– In conclusion, it was mostly a session full of complaints, and complaints about having no decent body or entity to officially complain to. Nothing said was new or eye opening, everything mentioned was not an opinion any more, they’re facts.

The outcomes that were read to us in the closing session are:

محاربة الفساد

1. التركيز على التنشئة الاجتماعية التي تجسد القيم والمثل العليا المستوحاه من التقاليد الاردنية والتعاليم الدينية. (I wonder how that happens, unless you plan on giving married couples some courses before they bring kids into this world, in which this should have been directly written down)

2. تعزيز استقلال القضاء كأداه اصيلة في اجتثاث الفساد وتطويقه. (Doesn’t ‘separating authorities’ sound better?)

3. تفعيل دور الرقابي للبرلمان الذي يحد من الفساد بما في ذلك التعامل بمزيد من الشفافية والسرعة مع تقارير ديوان المحاسبة.

4. اناطة محاكمة الوزراء بالقضاء المدني وليس بمجلس النواب.

5. مراجعة دور وصلاحيات هيئة مكافحة الفساد بما يضمن تفعيلها.

6. التأكيد على دور الاعلام لبث قيم الاستقامة وكشف الفساد الحقيقي بعيدا عن التشكيك غير المستند لمعلومة. (Our entire community needs reform, media included)

7. عدم التهاون مع من يثبت تورطه بشبهات الفساد مهما كان منصبه وان يتم اعلام الرأي العام بشكل دوري بتطورات قضايا الفساد ونتائج التحقيق وبسرعة قصوى. (Shame that we have to even write this down. عدم التهاون does not work here. Article 6(i) in the Jordanian constitution says ‘Jordanians shall be equal before the law. There shall be no discrimination between them as regards to their rights and duties on grounds of race, language or religion.’ How long shall we keep repeating the obvious? )

8. تعديل التشريعات المعنية بمكافحة الفساد والتأكد من عدم تناقضها مع بعضها او تداخل مهمات المؤسسات والهيئات الرقابية.

9. عدم شمول جرائم الفساد بقوانين العفو العام. (Don’t even get me started on that)

Taken by @ghifar

The second session I attended was on violence and bigotry. The session was opened by Mona Awad with a little ice breaking game. I personally would have liked to have her talk to us a bit more than she did.

Ibrahim Al Hayek, the moderator, was relatively younger than the moderator of the first session that I attended. It was mentioned by a participant who told him that he went to university with him that he was quite the ‘revolutionary’ when he was at university and that he seemed to have cooled down since then.

Comments on the session:

– It is a moderators’ job to be neutral and to listen to everyone, and he did that quite well for a while. He lost that the second he came over to the girl next to me and wrote on her paper what translates to ‘we shouldn’t argue with a closed minded person’, referring to an older man who was attributing physical abuse on women to families within refugee camps only. Now I may not agree with the old mans’ statement; which he seemed to be convinced of and had written down backed by numbers; but I thought that the moderator should have faced the man and replied directly to him instead of doing so privately to the girl.

– 2 big issues that are not 100% connected such as violence and bigotry should not be put in a session together.

– Through this session I became more aware that not everyone at the forum is fully capable of forming an opinion and logically setting a case forward.

– The majority of participants in this session were in their 20s.

– This session was much more laid back than the one on corruption, probably due to the younger participant range and the younger moderator.

– 5 or 6 of the participants remained in the room and continued the discussion for a full hour after the session ended. During which the moderator lit 2 cigarettes, ignoring my comments on it being forbidden to smoke inside. So even the best of the best, the ones we choose to moderate sessions and be a leading example, do not follow any of the rules. Go figure!

No direct outcomes came in the name of this specific session, but there were many suggestions and outcomes under the name of social reform:

محور الإصلاح الاجتماعي

1. إنشاء مركز وطني للحوار بحيث يرسخ مفهوم ونهج الحوار كقيمة سياسية عليا ويضطلع بنشاطات من شأنها تعزيز استمرارية الحوار الوطني العام واستدامته.

2. ترسيخ قيم التعاون المجتمعي ومبدأ العمل التطوعي كمنهج يعزز تحمل الشباب مسؤوليتهم تجاه مجتمعاتهم المحلية. (Again we go back to the empty sentences. During the higher education sub session for example, an outcome that I personally suggested and was written down was that we re-implement the 10 voluntary work hours that used to be in some universities and now only remain in JU. That it should be part of our curriculum, to do a minimum of 10 hours before we graduate. I call that a direct suggestion, and I call this above sentence an empty one)

3. تفعيل المؤسسات الشبابية وزيادة التشبيك فيما بينها وتشجيع الشباب على الانخراط بها.

4. إعادة خدمة العلم لما لذلك من آثار ايجابية على سلوك الشباب الأردني. (Suggestions such as this one were the outcome of one of the many sub sessions, meaning not everyone agreed on them)

5. تشجيع الشباب على قبول المهن المختلفة وتجاوز ثقافة العيب. (Encourage, promote, stabilize, reinforce…empty keywords used too many times for too long)

6. تحسين ظروف اللاجئين المعيشية مع الحفاظ على حقوقهم التاريخية بحق العودة.

7. العمل على تعزيز ثقافة المواطنة بمختلف الأساليب وتكريس فكرة الانتماء للوطن. (How do you plan to do this one too, I am a bit confused)

8. إنهاء كافة أشكال الإقصاء والتهميش للشباب في مجالس المحافظات وتعزيز تمثيلهم في المجالس المحلية.

9. إعادة النظر في مناهج التربية الوطنية واعتماد وثيقة شرف ضد العنف بالجامعات. (Two separate issues, I fail to see why they were put in one suggestion)

10. الآليات الوطنية الهادفة إلى إعداد القادة الشباب تفعيل وتعزيز.

11. تعزيز فرص مشاركة المؤسسات الشبابية في عملية الإصلاح والتطوير من خلال دعمها وتعزيز دورها وزيادة مساحات التواصل مع مؤسسات صنع القرار في الدولة. (I still await the outcomes of this specific forum)

12. تفعيل المبادرات الشبابية المجتمعية بالتعاون مع القطاع الخاص والمؤسسات العامة ومنظمات المجتمع المدني.

13. إزالة أسباب الخلل الاجتماعي بتعزيز الاهتمام بثقافة الأمة والالتزام بتقاليدها. (Again! This is NOT a direct suggestion)

Why I am overly interested in the form and content of the suggestions is because many people suggested direct action, but instead all we see now are lovely sentences to hear, but nothing to actually do.

Check this for the final list of suggestions that was read to us at the closing session.

Also here is a general description and overview of the programs of Day 1 and Day 2 at the Jordan Youth Forum.