Young people in Egypt have been actors in the popular uprisings of January/February 2011 that led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak following which Egypt embarked on a process of democratic transition. However, the transition has in some ways been one step forward and two steps back. The youth is again politically marginalized and is not participating in political party politics in great numbers. They have not been able to obtain influence in the formal decision making processes in their political parties.
However, young politically active Egyptians still see themselves as agents of change in terms of being politicians capable of having a multiparty dialogue and thereby building trust beyond political differences. They need a safe space to engage in this multiparty dialogue. This is what we offer them.
This project aims to strengthen the involvement of young people in formal decision-making processes of their parties and support a multiparty dialogue among young political party members.
This project is carried out as a partnership between DIPD, the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute (DEDI) and the Danish Youth Council (DUF). DEDI is an intergovernmental body with a strong dialogue mandate under the Danish Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP). DEDI’s core mandate is to promote political and cultural understanding between Denmark and Egypt and Europe and the Arab World. DUF is an umbrella organization for danish youth organizations, including the political youth parties, working towards strengthening the role and voice of youth in society. Apart from its national commitment, DUF is engaged in international activities in South and Southeastern Europe as well as the Middle East and the in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Focus on capacity building
Our strategy to enhance the participation of youth is dual involving both the leadership and the youth level of the parties. On the youth level the project offers a series of trainings that will capacity build the participating organizations by enhancing the qualifications of youth political party members and making them more relevant actors in the decision-making processes in their political parties.
The leadership level is included where relevant, for example inviting them to join the delegation to observe the Danish parliamentary elections in 2015 where they will experience how the youth wings in Denmark serve as a great asset for the political parties during elections. But also by being a recruitment pool for new generations of political leaders and by contributing to policy development of the mother party by constantly challenging the positions. The Egyptian party leaders and youth will be asked to come up with suggestions for concrete initiatives that will help them include the youth more in their decision making processes based on their inputs from Denmark.
Dialogue in a pluralistic party system
Another main objective is to enhance the cross political party dialogue between the participating parties. Given that the very anatomy of a pluralistic party system is based on competition and disagreement, a purpose of this project is to acknowledge the fact that the participants are also competitors. We aim at building capacity in ways to manage this disagreement in a constructive way. We are focusing on the facilitation of the intercultural dialogue that is important for the Danish and the Egyptian participants to build trust and be able exchange ideas in an equal and free environment.
Connecting theory and practice
The activities will be linked up to political events in Denmark and Egypt in order to connect the theoretical learning with practice.
Furthermore, it is an objective to make sure that there will be a concrete output for the political parties after each event. For example, a strategy paper for a local political campaign or methodology paper for developing policy programmes etc. Special focus will also be given to how the participating individuals can ensure that the learning elements are also integrated in their respective party organizations.
Throughout the second half of 2016 and the whole of 2017, the network will work under the overall theme of political parties at local level, partly due to the fact that both Egypt and Denmark will have local elections during 2017.
Contact Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal, Project Coordinator at DIPD: firstname.lastname@example.org