The Youth Program at UJRC was launched in 1999, and has since gained much experience in enhancing youth awareness, primarily through civic participation, on issues relevant to Jordan. The program’s mission is to develop a democratic and civil culture amongst youth, to provide them with the necessary skills to identify with their problems, to encourage interaction between youth to successfully solve their problems, and to emphasize the skills needed for today’s youth to possess for the region’s development. UJRC in the past had organized and led a number of projects focusing on youth, many of which were with the cooperation of other like-minded organizations.
Program Activities Round Table: Democracy and Youth
Ten years since the launching of political openness which was crowned by the parliamentary elections of 1989, Al Urdun Al Jadid Research Center with the cooperation of Konrad Adenauer Foundation held a seminar entitled: “ Ten years since the launching of the political process in Jordan 1989-1999”, in Cairo, on September 6-8, 1999.The round table devoted a session to discuss “Democracy and Youth”, with an active participation of young men and women, who were chosen from different sectors of society in addition to activists in the political and academic arena.


   The participating youth presented their views on the status of youth in Jordan, and reasons why they are not involved in Civil Society Organizations and Political Parties, in addition to the difficulties encountered in taking their own decisions. In the closing session of the round table, the participants called upon UJRC to conduct a regular annual Forum for Youth in Jordan.


The First Jordanian Youth Forum, 2000
Under the patronage of HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the first Jordanian Youth Forum was held by UJRC in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Foundation, on May 5-7, 2000, in Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development in Amman. The Forum was held with the participation of about 100 young men and women ranging between 18-32 years of age, and nominated from different areas of the Kingdom, with diverse professional, educational and social backgrounds.

It is worth mentioning that the idea of the Forum rose from the works of the round table on Democracy and Youth held in September 1999, which recommended organizing an annual forum for youth in Jordan. A preparatory committee consisting of youth participants in the round table, a number of organizing parties and volunteering youths, had succeeded in holding a series of meetings to crystallize the idea of the Forum, and to define its objectives and mechanisms.The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Saeed Shokom, opened the Forum as a representative of HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah, and passed on Her Majesty’s greetings to the participants and organizing parties. He emphasized the importance of investing in young generations, pointing out that Jordan’s mission concentrates on taking this generation forward in terms of progressive aspirations and rational awareness, which will in turn lead our country towards a bright future.

The Forum’s working agenda employed a special technique. Participants agreed on the importance of conducting a survey investigating the high priority issues, which youth wish to discuss at their Forum. A questionnaire was prepared for each participant to fill out by ten people s/he knows through work or school. This survey was carefully assessed to highlight the focal areas and major problems encountered in each area.

Participants were split into ten groups, each picking an area to discuss, with facilitators assigned to clarify the methodology and organize dialogue between members. Participants agreed on selecting three areas to be more thoroughly looked into, and later opted for one problem to be more fully and deeply discussed, while proposing a solution plan to solve it.

Moreover, whilst conducting this opinion poll, the Forum committee prepared a questionnaire for distributing, containing questions in eight fields. Respondents would identify three major problems they wished to be discussed at the Forum.

A sample of 250 was chosen to fill out the questionnaire; 46.4% males and 53.6% females. Their professional distribution was as follows: 38% students, 31.6% private and civil sector employees, 11.2% public sector employees, 11.2% unemployed, 4.8% self-employed, 3.2 % undefined.

15 areas were chosen, amongst the most important were: unemployment 34.4%, investment in free time 9.6%, discrimination against women 9.6%, developing youth capabilities 8%, and addiction 8%.

Workgroups chose ten issues to focus their work on: family, free time, marriage, IT, work, education, gender and social relationships, democratic culture, Jordanian cultural identity, and participation in the public sphere.

In the closing session of the Forum, HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah chaired a Round Table which summoned all the participants and was attended by Mr. Saeed Shokom, Minister of Youth and Sports. Workgroup leaders presented their discussion outcomes, and the session identified the focal points of interest that should be concentrated upon, within the ten areas defined above. Top

Jordanian Youth Forum 2001, ( Youth, Participation and the Internet):
Under the Patronage of HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah, UJRC with the cooperation of Konrad Adenauer Foundation held the Jordanian Youth Forum 2001, under the slogan “Youth, Participation, and Internet”, on June 1-3, 2001, in Rawdat Al Maaref School in Amman.

As opposed to the first forum, which was held by UJRC in May 2000 to focus on problems facing the youth sector, this second Forum concentrated on more specific issues and sought to apply the correct approaches to enhance youth empowerment for more participation and better decision-making.

This vision was based on the fact that Jordanian youth have the required knowledge and the technical capabilities which enable them to actively participate in their society issues. Moreover, Jordan is witnessing a rapid IT development which provides new ways of empowering the youth into fulfilling their ambitions in society.

UJRC chose Participation and Information Technology as the two focal themes for the Youth Forum 2001, while seeking to utilize IT tools in enhancing and empowering the participation opportunities of the youth.

UJRC had prepared a working paper identifying the goals and objectives of the Forum, in addition to a preliminary working agenda and methodologies, while specifying the youth target groups of the Forum.The goal of the Forum was to promote youth participation and collective work, identify new ways of communication, use IT to solve youth problems, realize the importance of participation and participatory methods, and build bridges of cooperation amongst youth.

A preparatory committee was formed of (21) young men and women to discuss the administrative and technical arrangements to hold the forum. This committee held nine meetings on UJRC premises.

An e-group was also formed, whereby the committee members exchanged ideas and proposals on the Forum. The e-group proved its efficiency and flexibility as a working mechanism, through which the youth were able to collectively prepare for the Forum proceedings, and to assign a working schedule for the preparatory committee. This was a model for the use of IT by the youth in following up on their interests and activities.

Moreover, a survey was prepared covering personal info of the participants, regarding their involvement in civil society activities, their computer and internet usage, the major issues they wish to discuss, and their main recommendations to the organizing parties.

UJRC posted the questionnaire on its website, where it was filled out and sent electronically. A total of 130 questionnaires were received, coming from different governorates of the Kingdom.

The 91 participants in the Forum were divided as follows by gender and region: 58% male, vs. 42% female; Northern region 29%, Middle region 63%, Southern region 8% .