The idea of the Identity and Citizenship Project among Jordanian youth is based on the need to build common and consensual concepts and perceptions among young people regarding the state, the political system, citizenship and national identity, which are important and key concepts in developing democracy and finding a common ground among Jordanian youth.
Behind this project is the fact that there is a noticeable gap among Jordanian youth, especially those involved in political and public work, or they participate in political discussions in determining and defining points of agreement and disagreement, and in framing the perceptions required for any democratic project, at a time when young people represent the emerging and dynamic forces in Arab societies, and are motivating for change and reform in many countries, However, although they mostly agree to reject many realistic issues and their will to change them, they differ in defining, determining and developing their perception of what is required in the next phase.
The most prominent terms and concepts that require definition and framing are the concepts of: democracy, the rule of law and human rights, national identity and citizenship, since it represents the base on which, if it exists and is solid, a national, participatory youth discourse can be based on political reform, it removes – at the same time – any ambiguities or fundamental differences that, in many countries and societies, may often reach the phase of mutual obsessions and doubts, For example, at the level of democracy; What if a majority party came to rule the country, could it impose its ideological vision and obligate the people to it?! What about the rights of political minorities?! What about religious freedom and human rights? If there is an ideological conflict between the competing political parties, what is the reference?! Then, in countries that suffer from a rise in sub-identities (sectarian, ethnic, religious, geographical…) do these identities conflict with citizenship and the rule of law, and is it possible to reconcile them with democracy and the national collective identity?!
Such questions have repercussions on Jordan’s reality, and there are concerns and doubts on more than one political and societal level, and gaps in the vision of elites and political and youth forces on many issues and files, Therefore, we proceed in the project from the importance of developing the culture of the young generation and its awareness of these concepts, their reflections and their realistic applications, and the development of a consensual youth discourse that can be adopted later by the participants in the conference, as a Jordanian “youth charter” that answers the following main questions:
- What is the political system that we want? And how can the constitutional considerations develop a Jordanian democratic model?
- How can the royal discussion papers be implemented through a roadmap in developing the political system?
- What are the determinants and obstacles that impede achieving and stabilizing a Jordanian democratic model? How can it be faced and dealt with?
- How can the rule of law principle and good governance be achieved? What is required of Jordanian youth today to support reaching this phase which leads to improving the level of services and providing the best of them to citizens? What is the extent of the dangers of corruption in Jordan? What are the laws, legislation and institutions concerned with protecting the public purse and combating financial, political and administrative corruption?
- What are the main values of citizenship? What is the identity of the state in Jordan? What is the nature of the relationship between the sub-identities and the national collective identity? what is meant by the national collective identity? and what are its components? what does national identity mean and what is its relationship to citizenship?
- How can human rights be guaranteed constitutionally, legally and politically in the political system? What are the guarantees that can ensure reach to this phase? are there limits that can be implemented on the issue of human rights? What is related to religious freedoms and private freedoms, and what are the most prominent controversial issues? How can there be compatibility between religion and customs on the one hand, and international human rights standards on the other?
To answer the previous questions, which are supposed to represent the main provisions of the Jordanian Youth Charter, the Politics and Society Institute (PSI), in coordination with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), will hold a workshop that includes training and dialogue meetings for a group of distinguished Jordanian youth in the field of political work to build a national consensus on common and consensual concepts, values and ideas.
The workshop will be divided into four main areas:
The first field – democracy and democratic transformation in Jordan: In this field, several conceptual and methodological issues about democracy will be defined in-depth:
- Introducing democracy in-depth and democratic models in the world: What does democracy mean? What are the most important and prominent indicators of democracy? What are the intellectual and institutional conditions and guarantees required for the success of democratic systems? What are the main democratic values? Is it possible to export democracy?
- Definition of democratic transition models in the world, and the difference between democratization and democratic consolidation:
- Phases of a democratic transition.
- Democratization theories.
- Obstacles to implementing democratization.
- Definition of the most prominent problems related to democracy in the Arab world:
- Ideological and intellectual conflicts.
- The question of democracy and religion.
- social structure and democracy.
- To introduce the Jordanian model from history to the status quo: The most prominent milestones, transformations and turns that the country has gone through, and what are the opportunities, challenges, obstacles and threats facing a Jordanian democratic model.
- A review of the most prominent features of the Jordanian constitution and the laws regulating political life.
- What are the main ideas of the Royal Discussion Papers? and how can they be reflected on the ground during a specific period? Does it really represent a consensus among the younger generation? and how can we build a roadmap to reach democracy in Jordan?
The second area – the rule of law: In this field, several conceptual and methodological issues will be defined in-depth concerning:
- The concept of the rule of law, its impact, dimensions, and indicators of its fairly and equally enforcement.
- The relationship between the rule of law and good governance, the dimensions of good governance in the ruling, and what is required by state institutions to consolidate the principles of good governance in the legislative and executive frameworks?
- The role of youth in consolidating and enforcing the principles of good governance and reach to the rule of law state.
- The concept of corruption, its dimensions and types, and how to measure it?
- International best practices in combating corruption and comparing them with the Jordanian framework.
- The power arbitrariness and the form of control between the authorities, while preserving the independence of their competencies.
- Corruption in Jordan and the most influential form in the Jordanian framework, and what are the basic laws and legislations concerned with counter-corruption and its types?
- Discussion of the relevant and sixth paper in particular.
The third area – human rights: In this field, several conceptual and methodological issues will be defined in-depth concerning:
- The two International Covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International legitimacy.
- The profound meaning of inclusion of everybody with human rights.
- Leaving no one behind, the necessity of implementing human rights indicators for all groups, regardless of conditions and crises.
- The interrelationship between the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the constitutional trajectories for rights in Jordan.
- The complementarity between the form of sustainable development and the well-established human rights as an approach to management, believing in the rule of law and democratic presence in accountability and participation in decision-making.
The Fourth Domain – Identity and Citizenship: In this field, the dialectic of the relationship between national identity, citizenship and sub-identities, and what is meant by the identity of the state, is defined through:
- What are the types of identities and sources of identity problems? In its national, religious, national and social dimensions.
- What is meant by the national collective identity? How is it built? What are the limits of the relationship between sub-identities and national identities?
- What does citizenship mean? What are the values of citizenship? What do you mean by formulating the citizen’s relationship with the state and his relationship with others?
- What are the most prominent problems in building the national collective identity for the Jordanians?
- How do we define the identity of the Jordanian state?
- The dialectic of the relationship between national identity, citizenship and sub-identities.
The project work is divided into six main sessions:
Session One: Democratic Theories and Democratic Transition
- What does democracy mean? What are the types of democratic governance? What are the concepts and cultures that establish democracy? What are the most prominent theories related to democratic transition and its experiences? Why is the Arab world so late in accompanying democracy?
Session Two: Democratic Transition in Jordan
- What are the most prominent features of the political historical experience in Jordan? What are the constitutional and political foundations of Jordanian democracy? What are the determinants of democratic transition? And what are its problems in Jordan? What are the highlights of Royal Discussion Papers? How can it be implemented into reality?
Session Three: Human Rights and the Jordanian Reality
- What are the basic human rights guaranteed in well-known international covenants particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights concerning political, civil and economic rights? What are the implication of human rights in the constitution and the various Jordanian legislation? What is the problem that may face the human rights file?
Fourth session: Citizenship and its political and societal implications
- What does citizenship mean? What are the contents and implications of citizenship? What does active citizenship mean? What are the rights and duties entailed by the concept of citizenship? What are the legal, political and societal consequences of citizenship? What does citizenship mean in the individual’s relationship with the state? Why is the issue of citizenship important in the Arab world? Why is it becoming more important today in many Arab countries?
Fifth Session: Identity, Citizenship and Democracy Controversy
- What does national identity mean? How can a national identity be built? What is the importance of the question of identity at the political, societal and civil peace levels? how can the relationship between the sub- identities and the national identity be arranged? What is the identity of the Jordanian state? What are the problems of the Jordanian national identity?
The participants will be divided into Task Forces working groups, and each group will discuss provisions from the youth charter to be accomplished, according to its vision of the contents of this charter and its main subjects, the work is conducted from the first day to complete the first drafts of the charter’s articles, at the end of the day.