The third edition of ‘Political Awareness Forum for University Students’ concluded today (11th of Nov 2014), with discussions focusing on the upcoming Federal National Council elections in 2015 and its various aspects. Taking forward the efforts to promote political participation culture among university students, the forum drew the attention of the university students to public affairs and enhanced their knowledge on the historical, political, economic, social and cultural legacy of the nation.
The second and final day of the forum began with a session titled ‘The role of media and social media in the Federal National Council elections’ moderated by Dr. Aisha Al Nuaimi, Head of Media and Mass Communication Department at the UAE University. During the session, Prof. Dr. Qais Al Tamimi - Mass Communication Department at the UAE University, and Mohamed Al Hammadi, editor-in-chief of Al Ittihad newspaper, spoke on
The role of media in promoting of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, President of UAE program’s to strengthen the role of the Federal National Council, Voter education on regulatory and legal aspects of the election of the Federal National Council, as the speakers discussed ways to encourage voters to participate in the electoral process.
The second session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Suad Marzouki of the Department of Political Science at the UAE University, during which Taleb Mohammed Al Shehhi, Director of Preaching at the General Authority for Islamic Affairs, and Zayed Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lawyers and Legal Association, discussed the role of social institutions and the civil society in supporting the Federal National Council elections.
The Forum concluded its activities with a closing session moderated by H.E. Dr. Mohammed bin Houidn, Head of the Political Science Department at the UAE University, who summed up the discussions of the plenary sessions and announced the recommendations.
The Forum recommended activating the role of the media in educating the members of the electoral bodies about the importance of the Federal National Council in the political system of the United Arab Emirates as well as their role and constitutional duties, both during elections and at other times. It emphasized the importance of raising awareness about the importance of voting for the most efficient candidate keeping aside any bias on loyalties.
The Forum also recommended utilizing the efforts of formal and informal institutions in educating members of the electoral bodies who wish to run for the Federal National Council election, and educating them on how to prepare their electoral platforms objectively and in accordance with the legislation governing the electoral process.
The third recommendation was on the necessity to form partnerships between government and private institutions to support the electoral process and implement the political empowerment program of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the aim of gradually establishing an integrated parliamentary culture that matches the needs of the community.
The recommendations emphasized the need to include specialized courses on parliamentary culture with focus on the profile of the Federal National Council and its role, explaining the various stages of its development.
In addition to the needs of the civil society, institutions must adopt mechanisms and programs to encourage voters, especially women, to actively participate in the Federal National Council elections, the Forum said.