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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King attends launch of Demoqrati
Amman, 2 June 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday presided over the launch of the Democratic Empowerment Programme, “Demoqrati”, at the Royal Cultural Centre in Amman.

HRH Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II also attended the launch of the initiative, which seeks to enhance the values of democracy, enroot democratic practices in society and push forward the development process.

Demoqrati is founded on development-boosting values such as the rule of the law, rejection of violence, acceptance of others, dialogue and accountability. It is also meant to stimulate civil society institutions to play their role as key supporters of citizens and issues of concern to the public.

The programme, which will be implemented under the umbrella of the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD), seeks to engage all segments of society, especially youths, in building a conscious democratic culture and exercising it through democratic institutions and supportive civil society organisations, based on confidence in the country’s ability to realise change and progress.

Chairperson of KAFD’s Board of Trustees Omar Razzaz said in remarks at the ceremony, attended also by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, that the initiative “embodied an approach of partnership, cooperation and devotion. We are aware of the magnitude of the challenges our country faces at the political and economic levels and we believe in the ability of the leadership and the people to overcome these challenges and find a way out of this critical stage, to emerge stronger than ever.”

Razzaz indicated that “differences do not signal flaws or lack of loyalty. In fact, differences that are based on mutual respect drive dialogue among people with opposing viewpoints, which is the essence of democracy, which, in turn, is the tool that makes reconciliatory solutions the way to move ahead.”

Razzaz made reference to the fourth discussion paper authored by the King and published Sunday to coincide with the launch of Demoqrati. He said the ideas presented in the paper underline the need to enhance political participation and entrench active citizenship with more engagement in civic and political life.

Razzaz said that at the level of values and democratic culture and practice by the individual and society, “our experiment needs more polishing. We have a long way to go, as people need an inclusive national identity based on mutual understanding and active interaction with historical developments, along with a matrix of values that helps them respond to developments and a vision that embodies their ambitions and aspirations.”

He stressed that the partnership envisioned does not stop at launching an initiative or announcing a function, but it is rather a societal movement based on partnership and integration without alienating any member of the community. It should be built on initiatives launched by the youth and communities in all governorates to discard old values and replace them with the positive values of revival.

The Democracy Empowerment Programme, which was announced by King Abdullah last year, in a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Jordan, seeks to take democratic work to the next level, enrooting a democratic culture across society and fostering a bottom-up approach to change.

Razzaz said that KAFD has over the past months, in coordination with partners, held a series of workshops, brainstorming sessions and dialogues to set a conceptual framework to identify how best to enable Jordanians to become more self-aware and the relationship between the individual and other members of society and the state.

Demoqrati’s programmes will include activities to nurture positive and constructive debate, stimulate volunteerism at school and university level in all governorates, enhance accountability and transparency, guarantee the right of access to information and creative community service initiatives.

Razzaz said: “We at KAFD are inspired today by His Majesty’s fourth discussion paper to run a democratic empowerment programme that is characterised by integrity, transparency and neutrality towards all political and partisan forces.”

Razzaz also announced the launch of the “Jordanian Youth Window to Support Social Entrepreneurship” through which creative individuals involved in community service can receive support to expand their initiatives.

The ceremony included a theatrical performance by the Sahab Theatrical Company, which summed up the concerns and aspirations of Jordanians and their eagerness for social justice and a society free of favouritism, wasta and social ills. The play called for dialogue, optimism, accepting others and dealing positively with difficulties.

A film was also screened featuring the experience of young people as they deal with issues of national concern in a democratic manner based on respect, freedom of the speech, pluralism and acceptance of the others.

Towards the end of the ceremony, young people read out the Youth Empowerment Charter, in which they pledge to seek the truth, away from rumours and hearsay, respect other people’s opinions and commit themselves to the ethics of constructive dialogue.

Also present at the ceremony were Senate President Taher Masri, House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour, President of the Higher Judicial Council Hisham Tal, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, His Majesty’s Office Director Imad Fakhoury, senior officials, diplomats and representatives of civil society and the youth sector.