Pal-Think for Strategic Studies has opened a training program entitled “Promoting the Political Participation of Youth and disseminating the Concepts of Democracy”, within the project “Empowering Civil Society Role to Achieve Palestinian Elections”, with the participation of 21 trainees from various academic backgrounds and they have various community activities, funded by the Government of Canada, this project is the second phase of “Young Gender-equality Research Chapter”, aims to strengthen the role of civil society in supporting the Palestinian elections, activating the role of youth, and enhancing the political and societal participation of young people to contribute to finding solutions to the crises facing the Palestinian people.
The first training meeting, the project coordinator, Sally Al-Sammak, opened by welcoming the attendees, and said: “We are working in Pal-Think to prepare and qualify the youth to be able to run for elections to represent the youth, and this is what happened with one of the female trainees in Pal-Think who ran for the Legislative Council when the elections were announced”.
Al-Sammak emphasized that one of the main purposes of the project is to empower young people to be contributors to finding solutions to the problems of Palestinian society and not only to be part of those problems, and enables them to participate in politics and providing them with the necessary knowledge about human rights and democracy issues to be practiced and applied in Palestinian society, explained that the seven-day training program includes: training about human rights in international law and the use of pressure and advocacy campaigns to participate in decision-making, national dialogue and concepts of democracy, political participation of youth and women, holding debates and hearings, presentation and communication skills.
She added that the trainees, after the end of the training, will hold awareness sessions and campaigns about human rights issues, elections and activating youth support, in continuation of previous activities within the project, which began with lectures, radio episodes, brochures and producing various sponsored video on supporting Palestinian elections, the role of youth, political and community participation, and gender equality.
In turn, the director of “Pal-Think” Omar Shaban said that Pal-Think is an independent Palestinian organization working to lift the ideological siege on the Gaza Strip, and focus all its efforts to educate young people and train them to address the world and give them opportunities to meet western decision-makers and diplomats when they visit Gaza.
About the training program, Shaaban said that they received about 250 applications, but they very carefully selected 21 applications for young people with previous intellectual writings, to develop their skills and experience.
On her part, the trainer, Dr. Samia Al-Ghussein, Professor of Law at Al-Azhar University, who carried out the first training day, said that the goal of the training is to enhance the political participation of young people and engage in the Palestinian issue, especially since young people are neutralized by the division and the limited opportunities for their participation in public issues.
She added, “I hope that the training will restore the youth’s confidence that they are the real tool of change”
The first day of the training program included an introduction to human rights, international human rights media, the International Covenants on Human Rights, legal agreements, how to monitor human rights violations, and the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Trainees also implemented various methodological activities among themselves, and their interaction was marked.
In the same context, the 23-year-old trainee, Aseel Safi, a graduate of English Language Arts, said that there is a general problem among young people in the issue of culture and awareness, besides that their role is almost non-existent.
She added, “Personally, I did not know anything about political participation, the electoral threshold, electoral lists, or other political matters, but such as these programs taught me all these things. These programs are the first step to change. Now, I want to complete my postgraduate in the fields of human rights and political science”.
As for the trainee, the 20-year-old, Amir Hussein, a law student, he said that his specialization requires relationships, involvement in society, and picks up different ways of thinking.
He added, “The concept of democracy and human rights is unclear to young people. Personally, I joined this program for two reasons: First, it is very important in my field. Second, Pal-Think, which focuses on young people, is the one who introduced this program”.
He concluded by saying: “It is assumed that 90 percent of our Palestinian people know these issues because we are under siege and occupation. Everyone must be aware of their rights to participate in the general situation in their own way”.
The designations employed and the representation of material in this program do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Government of Canada.”