Nahar Ashabab is an organization with a scope of activities mainly targeting the youth and the students to connect them together as individuals and as groups and to enhance common platforms, dynamic dialogue and synergies.
Launched officially on April 13, 2006, at the Press Syndicate, the organization bases itself on what the martyr Gebran Tueni had already started and worked for through the “Nahar Ashabab” Youth Supplement, as well as the other ideas and initiatives he conveyed to the Lebanese Youth.
Nahar Ashabab’s projects varied from the Youth Shadow Cabinet, Nahar Ashabab Youth Supplement providing youth with a platform to voice their problems and issues, Nahar Ashabab Delegates program (1200 delegates, among them citizen journalist), “Nahar Ashabab” Hyde Park in all Lebanese regions enabling youth to speak out the issues of their regions as well as their opinion on various subjects such as politics, economics, education etc, the implementation in schools and universities of the Nahar Ashabab press clubs enabling us to empower democracy, citizenship and good governance among the youth in our country, the “NASH groups” which will be dealing directly with Lebanese citizens via our delegates in the regions in order to raise their awareness in matters such as consumer protection, dialogue between youth from different political parties, as well as conducting workshops in schools and universities to empower democracy, citizenship and good governance, the launching of the two youth shadow dialogues enabling youth to propose concrete solutions trying to resolve some of Lebanon political issues, the launching of a project called www.votematch.lb.com sawtak elak related to the Lebanese parliament elections as well as trainings related to intereligious dialogue through using media.
Naharashabab also has two newspaper supplement addressed to youth, one is weekly issued, the other monthly. Most who writes in these supplements are from youth of all confessions. Many issues are discussed such as interreligious dialogue, youth issues, education,sports…
On the other hand Naharashabab implemented last year an interreligious dialogue which lasted 6 months. It included trainings delivered to journalist in interreligious dialogue, how to address the readers in this field, how to reduce distances between points of view.
To give an added value to this project Naharashabab used Annahar WebTV to promote these values.
The youth shadow government:
The Youth Shadow Government (YSG) provides Lebanese university students, from both public and private universities, with practical opportunities to experience the Lebanese democratic political process in action. YSG promotes political involvement while promoting paradigms of good governance, anti-corruption and public transparency. The shadow government will monitor political developments occurring on the national level and act as a watchdog over the government’s performance. This will entail monitoring each ministry, explaining to their university colleagues and the public at large the government’s performance, and debating alternate option for the decisions that were made by the government
The foundation of YSG is that Lebanese youth are important to the political terrain and can be a force of change to the stale and stagnant current political climate. There are two components of YSG that will address the said problem:
Cognitive training materials/activities: Shadow ministers will participate in discussions and training on civic responsibility, good governance, and the role of media in politics. Students will participate in training three days a week for a morning and afternoon session. On the non-training days the program manager will conduct discussion and question/answer sessions regarding the training. YSG organizers will reach out to academics from Lebanon and the United States to share their expertise and foster open dialogue. In addition, the participants will undergo intensive media training. The students will participate in media training four days a week for a morning and afternoon session. The training will include conducting interviews, writing a press release, and public speaking. The goal is to give the shadow ministers the tools needed to view the decisions of their governmental counterparts in a critical and objective manner.
Practical application: Shadow ministers will receive, from the Council of Ministers, the cabinet’s agenda ahead of its weekly sessions. The shadow government will convene on a weekly basis on the day following the actual session of the Council of Ministers, and makes its own decisions according to the agenda. At the end of every session of the shadow government the spokesperson will brief the public, via a press release, on the council’s decisions. The shadow government will also convene periodical meetings with the Prime Minister to discuss their decisions
The local print and television media will provide full coverage of the activities of the shadow government. The goal here is to provide these young people with the platform needed to make their voices heard to governmental leaders in a creative and productive manner.