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University students launch initiative to encourage political involvement

By Dana Al Emam - Nov 28,2012 - Last updated at Nov 28,2012

AMMAN — A group of students at the University of Jordan’s faculty of international studies have formed a group to increase political awareness among students so they can better participate in the Kingdom’s democratic process.

According to Bahaa Qudah, one of the three founders of the “Political Team”, the group was first created exclusively for students of the international studies faculty, but high demand from those belonging to other faculties made them open the group’s membership to all students.

“We received more than 300 applications in a week, which made us consider working on the level of the whole university instead of just with a limited number of students,” Qudah told The Jordan Times.

“Applicants need to fill in a brief paper form and confirm it with a more detailed online form, which enables us to know the reasons why these students want to join the team and how serious and hard working they are willing to be,” he added.

Qudah noted that around 80 per cent of the applicants were “into politics” and had convincing reasons to join the Political Team.

“Online applications are available on the Political Team’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. In addition, applicants can send the needed information via the team’s e-mail,” he said.

The recently formed team plans to implement its objectives by holding training sessions and launching awareness campaigns on campus, starting from the 2012-2013 spring semester.

“We want to make a difference in the way students perceive politics and their attitudes towards the political arena,” Qudah said.

“The Political Team has connections with universities that offer political science courses like Yarmouk University in Irbid, Mutah University in Karak and the Hashemite University in Zarqa, and we will be cooperating with them in the future,” he said.

As the student union elections approach, the team will initiate a campaign to familiarise students with the new university elections law, which is based on a closed proportional list of nine seats in the union.

“The new elections law at the university is a diminutive model of the parliamentary Elections Law. By practising elections on campus, students are more likely to have a better understanding of what the Elections Law is,” Qudah added.

The Elections Law adopts a mixed system under which each voter will have two votes, one at the district level and another designated for a 27-seat closed proportional list at the national level.

“We will also organise debates between candidates to help students decide who is worth their vote,” he said.

The team will cooperate with on-campus entities like the Centre for Women’s Studies and the faculty of foreign languages to offer a series of lectures about women’s political rights in English.

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