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The conference on “The Challenge of the Youth in Lebanon” was opened by former president and head of Maison du Futur (MdF) Amine Gemayel and the representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Lebanon (KAS) Dr. Malte Gaier.
After a short introduction by the moderator Nadim Koteich, Jean-Pierre Katrib, a member of the Foundation for Human and Humanitarian Rights and Managing Director at Quantum Communication and Makram Rabah, a lecturer at the American University of Beirut and political activist presented the findings of their policy paper: “The Challenge of the Youth in Lebanon: From Crisis to Opportunity”. The paper was commented in a second session by Rasha Al Atrash, the Managing Editor of "Al Modon" and Ayman Mhanna, the Executive Director of the Samir Kassir Foundation.
In addition to the presented content of the policy paper, Rabih Haber, CEO at Statistics Lebanon, offered insight on the results of a recent survey, conducted by KAS about “The first time voters and Elections” regarding first-time voters that will soon be published.
Following the speeches of the experts, a lively discussion developed between the approximately 70 participants. The university students in particular showed great interest in the topic and a will to be active in Lebanese politics. Questions about the definition of youth and the voting age, as well as debates about political awareness, lacking trust in the government, accountability, clientelism, sectarianism, and the new electoral law were addressed.
The event ended with an appeal to the youth to actively participate in politics in order to change, not just Lebanon’s future, but also theirs. At the same time, it was stressed that patience is needed as change is a slow and continuous process. The studies presented as well as the conference are an important platform to encourage the dialogue between the youth, experts and politicians about different experiences, views, and ideas.