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Civil Society and Democracy

 

CSD in Brief

1. Introduction
The Civil Society and Democratic Development Program is associated with the emergence of UJRC, which was directly linked to the democratic transformation and the release of the political diversity in the Kingdom. The program is executed on behalf of UJRC, representing one of the civil society institutions in Jordan, and enjoying specialized features. It diverts its major interest to democratic issues, which are the key to political, economic, and social development.

The program specifically directs its attention to study the status of the Jordanian Civil Society, and to introduce its different groups, issues and development process. It also attempts to contribute to the enhancement of civil society organizations' ability to raise their status and strengthen their role in public life, in an effort to help protect the democratic development and the establishment of democratic methods in the country's lifestyle at different levels.

The program activities include organizing conferences, seminars and workshops, preparing research papers and issuing books and reports, in addition to the regular "Civil Society Issues" magazine.

2. Program Objectives

  1. Developing the culture of civil society and democracy in Jordan, by organizing activities, carrying out researches, and issuing publications that would serve this goal.

  2. Contributing to the accomplishment of sustainable democracy by encouraging national debate and political participation, and developing legislations that are relevant to enhancing the civil society's institutional role and deepening democratic transformation in the Kingdom.

  3. Building a database of the different categories of civil society organizations and of developments on the democratic process in Jordan.

  4. Provide training, rehabilitation, and enlightenment opportunities for activates of civil society organizations.
     

3. Program Structure

The Program carries out its activities under the direct supervision of UJRC Executive Director.

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CSD Program Activities

The Jordanian Civil Alliance for Democratic Elections (JOCADE)

Upon initiative by Al Urdun Al Jadid Research Center, several Jordanian NGO’s summoned in mid April 2007 to discuss the responsibilities of the Jordanian civil society towards the upcoming municipal and parliamentary elections. These organizations agreed on creating an alliance entitled “The Jordanian Civil Alliance for Democratic Elections” (JOCADE). Attendees discussed and approved the objectives of JOCADE. Consequently, these organizations conveyed this initiative and product to a wider audience of organizations, which showed their enthusiasm to being among the founding members of this unprecedented initiative.

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1. Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops

- During the years 2006-200
8

2006/ 2007/ 2008 Study Days project for Civil Society leaders and activists

In August 2006, UJRC launched a pioneer project entitled “Study Days for Leaders & Activists of Jordanian Civil Society Organisations”. The first of its kind in Jordan, this project aims at building the capacities of civil society leaders and activists, through training, exchanging experiences and presenting best practices of each CSO for mutual learning purposes.

Focal themes of the 2006-2007 Study Days:

  1. First study day: Overviewing survey outcomes of the opinion poll conducted on civil society leaders in Jordan.

  2. Second study day: The National Priorities: the National Agenda 2005-2015 & We Are All Jordan.

  3. Third study day: Civil Society and Mechanisms of Influencing Policy-Making.

  4. Fourth study day: Educating CSOs on organising advocacy campaigns to gain the support of the Parliament; the political parties’ law as a case study.

  5. Fifth study day: Civil Society and creating Alliances, Networks, Coalitions and Umbrellas.

  6. Sixth study day: Improving the legislative environment governing CSOs' work; law no. 33 of 1966 and the new CSOs bill.

  7. Seventh study day: Partnership between Civil Society Organisations and the Government.

  8. Eighth study day: Partnership between Civil Society Organisations and the Private Sector; corporate governance & social responsibility.

  9. Ninth study day: Credibility of Civil Society in dealing with the public and mainstreaming values of democracy.

Based on the successes of this pioneer project, UJRC launched the second phase in July 2007. Another set of nine themes are being addressed at nine new study days workshops for Jordanian CSOs.

F ocal themes of the 2007-2008 Study Days:

  1. First study day: The role of civil society in political, economic and social reform.

  2. Second study day: Enhancing the role of CSOs in strengthening political and electoral participation.

  3. Third study day: Strategic thinking and planning.

  4. Fourth study day: Writing, managing and monitoring proposals.

  5. Fifth study day: Financial stability of CSO’s: towards a partnership with the private sector.

  6. Sixth study day: Advanced advocacy as a tool for enhancing the influence of civil society in reform policies.

  7. Seventh study day: Good governance in CSOs.

  8. Eighth study day: Gender mainstreaming in CSOs’ structure, management, and activities.

  9. Ninth study day: Enhancing the communication and media skills of CSOs.
     

Project publications:
To document the proceedings and outcomes of this project, UJRC is publishing a series of reports on each set of 3 study days. This provides for future documentation of the working papers, discussions and recommendations derived, and ensures wider outreach, dissemination, and benefit. Reports are distributed to CSO’s, policy makers, private sector and concerned stakeholders pertaining to Jordanian civil society and its role in society.
 

To view reports:

 

- During the year 2008

 

  1. Seminar: "Media and Civil Society: towards better understanding", the seminar was held at Jerusalem Hotel, Amman, October 9, 2008.
     

  2. Launch Ceremony: On September 28, 2008, UJRC launched the Jordanian Alliance for the Freedom of Information and Transparency (JAFIT). This was announced at the founding meeting which was held with participation of 11 civil society organisations. The meeting discussed several issues related to CSOs’ legislative framework, including their right to access of information, Law no. 47 of 2007. JAFIT is member of the Arab Freedom of Information Network (AFOINET), that was launched of five founding Arab countries including Jordan, in August 2008.
     

  3. Roundtable: "Status of Public Transportation Sector in Jordan", the roundtable was held at Century Park Hotel, August 27, 2008.
     

  4. Training Workshop: The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), together with UJRC,  conducted a 3-day consecutive training workshop entitled: “State of Local Democracy in the Arab World: Local Democracy Assessment in Jordan”. It was held at Holiday Inn Hotel, Amman, uly 14 to 16, 2008.
    The main focus of the workshop is assessing the level of local democracy in four Jordanian municipalities: Rusaifah, Maan, Mafraq and Jarash, where it involved training 20 men, women from these governorates.
    Its part of International IDEA’s project “State of Local Democracy (SoLD) Assessment in the Arab World”, involving similar activities in four countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen, where UJRC is the implementing organisation in Jordan.
     

  5. Study Days for Civil Society Leaders and Activists workshops:
     

    • UJRC held the last study day workshop on “Enhancing the communication and media skills of CSOs” on June 25, 2008, with cooperation of the Jordanian National Forum for Women. The workshop highlighted the importance of media and its pivotal role in a community. Whereas media is the watchful eye on the work of governmental and private sector institutions.
      Participants ranged from civil society leaders, the Jordanian National Forum for Women staff, media and academic experts.
       

    • On June 11, 2008, UJRC held a study day entitled “Gender Mainstreaming in CSOs’ Structure, Management, and Activities”, in association with National Center for Human Resource Development and the Jordanian National Forum for Women.
      The study day resulted in forming a coalition of civil society organisation, designed to enhance gender integration in organisations and societal institutions, based on a clear work plan of activities that were discussed during the seminar.
       

  6. Roundtable: "Associations’ Law and Public Meetings’ Law”, the roundtable discussed the Draft NGOs and Public Assembly Laws on March 25, 2008, at Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman. Former ministers, party leaders, CSOs, human rights organisations, legal experts and academics participated in the roundtable discussions. The sessions were concluded by listing a group of recommendations and suggestions that will be presented to the upper and lower houses of parliament.
     

  7. Workshop: "Status of Corruption in the Arab Region: Jordan Case” held in collaboration with Jordanian Parliamentarians against Corruption. A turnout of 64 people participated in this workshop at Century Park Hotel, Amman, March 16, 2008.
       

 

- During the year 2007

  1. Training Workshop: "Jordanian People’s Perceptions of the EU actions in Jordan":

  • 1st Workshop: in this workshop a number of researchers were trained on implementing the EU Questionnaire, held at UJRC meetings hall, October 3, 2007.

  • 2nd Workshop: on October 6, 2007, at UJRC meetings hall.

  • 3rd Workshop: on October 17, 2007, at UJRC meetings hall.

  1. Seminar : "Kurds of Iraq between Separation and Unity", the seminar hosted Mulla Bukhtiar, where he talked about Kurds and the current situation in Iraq. Place: UJRC meetings hall, October 8, 2007.

  2. Conference: "Strategic Readings into the Israeli Scene 2007", a 3-day conference held in cooperation with Palestinian Center for Israeli Studies, at Jerusalem Hotel, Amman, September 8-10, 2007.

  3. Dialogue Session: "Current Palestinian crisis and viable solutions", UJRC invited the prominent Palestinian patriot Nayef Hawatmeh to inaugurate the lecture, that took place at UJRC meetings hall, August 5, 2007.  

  4. Seminar: "Where are Arab–Kurdish Relations heading next?" Sami Shorash, former Minister of Culture in Kurdistan, Iraq, and a prominent writer and journalist gave a lecture on the topic of Arab-Kurdish Relations. Shorash called for enhancing Arab-Kurdish cooperation and warned about continuing divisions in Arab-Kurdish relations, the seminar’s attendance exceeded 100. UJRC convened this seminar at Jerusalem Hotel, May 30, 2007.

  5. Dialogue Session : "The Civil Struggle for Attaining Equality in Israel", in this seminar, Mohamed Barakah, the Arab MP at the Israeli Knesset and President of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, outlined how Arab MPs are subject to abuse by Israeli authorities. The seminar took place at UJRC meetings hall, April 22, 2007.  

  6. Conference:   The Project on Middle East Democracy convened a seminar with the cooperation of UJRC and the Americans for Informed Democracy, titled “A Jordanian-American Dialogue on the US Democracy Strategy”. The conference was held at Beit Shabab, Amman, April 19-21, 2007.

  7. Study Days for Civil Society Leaders and a Activists workshops (2006-2007 cont'):

    5th study day: " Civil Society and creating Alliances, Networks, Coalitions and Umbrellas", the workshop was held at Marmara Hotel, January 31, 2007.

    6th study day: "Improving the Legislative Environment Governing CSOs' work; law no. 33 of 1966 and the new CSOs bill", the workshop was held in Zarqa Chamber of Trade, Jordan, March 7, 2007.

    7th study day: "Partnership between Civil Society Organisations and the Government", the workshop was held at Jerusalem Hotel, April 2, 2007.

    8th study day: "Partnership between Civil Society Organisations and Private Sector; Corporate Governance & Social Responsibility", the workshop was held at  Jerusalem Hotel, May 17, 2007.

    9th study day: "Credibility of Civil Society in dealing with the public and mainstreaming Values of Democracy", the workshop was held at Century Park Hotel, June 11, 2007.

  8. Seminar: The New Jordan Forum organized a dialogue session on March 13, 2007, with the Moroccan Ambassador to Jordan, HE Mr. Mohammad Ma’a Al-Ainain. Tackling the topic of the “Western Sahara Dilemma: Towards a Political Solution”, this seminar took place at Regency Palace Hotel in Amman, and was attended by 47 participants.

  9. Conference: Within the framework of the Arab Civic Network for Democratic Reform (ISLAH) projects for 2006/2007, UJRC convened the conference entitled “Partners in Reform: Strengthening the Capacities of Arab Civil Society Movements in Political Reform and Democracy”. This was held on February 17-18, 2007, at Jerusalem Hotel in Amman.

  10. Annual Meeting: UJRC hosted the first annual meeting of the Arab Civic Network for Democratic Reform (ISLAH) on February 16, 2007, at Jerusalem Hotel in Amman. 56 attendees representing 40 Arab CSO’s were present at the meeting.

  11. Seminar: The New Jordan Forum hosted Dr. Abdul Fattah Boutani; Director of the Center for Kurdish Studies and Documentation at the University of Dhouk/ Iraq. He delivered a lecture entitled “How could a united Iraq serve a strategic option for the Kurds?” Mr. Hamada Fara’neh, journalist and former MP, presented the speaker and moderated the discussion, which was attended by thirty participants, including political leaders and activists, academics, journalists and researchers . Place: UJRC meetings hall, February 5, 2007.

 

- During the year 2006

  1. Seminar: "Options to end the current Palestinian Crisis". Place: UJRC meetings hall, January 21, 2006.

  2. Workshop: "Political Parties Laws in the Arab states and the role played by Arab parliaments to amend such laws" a working meeting consisted of experts and regional figures. The 2-day workshop was held in conjunction with the UNDP’s Parliamentary Reform Initiative at the Intercontinental Hotel, on December 18 and 19, 2006.

  3. Forum for the Future: Preliminary meetings of the Content Committee, a subsidiary of the Jordanian
    Preparatory Committee of the Civil Conference parallel to the Forum for the Future. The Committee held four working meetings at UJRC meetings hall, on August 31, September 9, and October 2 and 28, in order to identify terms of reference for the papers presented at the Civil Conference.

    The Civil Conference was convened on November 27 and 28, 2006, at the Regency Palace Hotel in Amman. A total of 18-20 representatives of the Jordanian civil society took part in the four meetings.

  4. Study Days for Civil Society Leaders workshops (2006-2007):

1st study day: "Overviewing survey outcomes of the opinion poll conducted on civil society leaders in Jordan". The workshop was held at Marmara Hotel, August 1, 2006.

2nd study day:   "The National Priorities: the National Agenda 2005-2015 & We Are All Jordan. The workshop was held in Al Safsaf Center", Naour, Jordan, August 23, 2006.

3rd study day: "Civil Society and Mechanisms of Influencing Policy-Making". The workshop was held at Marmara Hotel, Naour, Jordan, September 18, 2006.

4th study day: "Educating CSOs on organising advocacy campaigns to gain the support of the Parliament; the political parties’ law as a case study". The workshop was held at Marmara Hotel, November 15, 2006.

 

  1. Dialogue Session: The New Jordan Forum hosted Dr. Hazem Qashou’ on September 13, 2006, to speak on the Jordanian delegation that had visited Syria recently. He gave a presentation on the aims behind the visit and the main outcomes derived. A number of leaders and activists of Jordanian parties and media persons participated in the discussion session. Mr. Hamadeh Faraneh, the journalist and former MP, chaired the session, held at UJRC meetings hall.

  2. Meeting: A meeting of civil society organisations to support the people of Lebanon against the Israeli aggression and establishing a forum for Jordan’s civil society organisations. Place: UJRC meetings hall, July 25, 2006.

  3. Debate Session: "Political and Military Developments in the Horn of Africa". Place: UJRC meetings hall, July 18, 2006.

  4. Conference: " The Democratic Trend Unity Conference … Opportunities and Challenges", this one-day conference was held on July 16, 2006, at Palmyra hotel, in collaboration with Al-Quds Center for Political Studies. The Conference set out to encourage the unity of the Jordanian democratic trend. The number of contributors in this event reached 60, whereas the total number of attending participants was 131.

  5. Launch: A joint reception on the occasion of launching the second edition of “The Directory of Civil Society Organizations in Jordan”, which was published with the cooperation of the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. The event was held at Kempinski Hotel in Amman, on July 10, 2006. Tens of leaders and representatives of Civil Society Organizations, media and universities attended the ceremony.

  6. Dialogue Session: "Political Developments in Palestine on the eve of the next Palestinian Dialogue", lectured by Jameel Shehadah. Place: UJRC meetings hall, May 15, 2006.

  7. Dialogue Session: "Latest Developments on the Egyptian Scene", lectured by Ahmed Hamrosh. Place: UJRC meetings hall, May 10, 2006.

  8. Seminar: "Iraq Facing a US or an Iranian Occupation", Lectured by sheikh Hussein Mu'ayad. Place: UJRC meetings hall, May 3, 2006.

  9. Founding Meeting: Upon an initiative by UJRC, the founding meeting of the Arab Civil Network for Democratic Reform (ISLAH) was held at the Dead Sea on February 18 and 19, 2006, with the participation of 18 Arab organisations from 8 different Arab states. At the meeting, UJRC was elected as the general coordinator for the Network.

  10. Open Meeting: on the occasion of the visit made by the national partisan and union delegation to Syria, where Munir Hamarneh lectured in the meeting. Place: UJRC meetings hall, January 22, 2006.

  11. Open Meeting: on the occasion of inaugural of the General Conference of the General Federation of Labour Unions, UJRC held this open discussion in participation with Labour Union President Mazen Ma'aytah. Place: UJRC meetings hall, January 16, 2006.

 

- During the years 2001-2005

  1. Seminar: "National Code of Conduct against Terrorism", UJRC held this seminar at UJRC meetings hall, with participation of many civil society organisations on November 28, 2005.

  2. Dialogue Session with the Ambassador of Sudan in Jordan. UJRC held this discussion at the Sudanese Community Club, Amman, January 15, 2005.

  3. National Consultative Meeting: Held by UJRC to discuss the participation of Jordanian Civil Society Organizations in the Euro-Mediterranean Forum, in Luxemburg, 2005. Place: Hussein Cultural Center, Amman, January 17, 2005.

  4. Dialogue Session: UJRC organized a discussion session with the Sudanese Ambassador in Amman, at the Sudanese Community Club, Amman, January 15, 2005.

  5. Meeting: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Jordanian – Japanese relations, UJRC organized this meeting with the participation of a delegation representing youth from the Jordanian Universities. Place: Foresight Art Gallery, Amman, August 16, 2004.

  6. Brainstorming Session: "The Civil Society Issues" magazine; UJRC held a brainstorming session to discuss the trends and plans for developing the CSI magazine, especially after having it officially licensed as a specialized magazine. Place: UJRC meetings hall, June 16, 2004.

  7. Meeting of the National Consultative Committee for the Civil Society Organizations Directory: UJRC held the first meeting for the National Consultative Committee supervising the CSO Directory. This was within the framework of the preparations for launching the project of a Directory to Assess the State of Civil Society in Jordan. Place: UJRC meetings hall, January 28, 2004.

  8. Dialogue Session: Successful Youth Experiences: Nassim Tuffaha; Arab American speaks about his personal experience. UJRC meetings hall, April 30, 2003.

  9. Workshop: The Future Effects of the Regional Developments in Palestine and Iraq on Jordan: Social Impact. UJRC meetings hall, March 24, 2003.

  10. Workshop: The Future Effects of the Regional Developments in Palestine and Iraq on Jordan: Economic Impact. UJRC meetings hall, March 15, 2003.

  11. Workshop: The Future Effects of the Regional Developments in Palestine and Iraq on Jordan: Political Impact. UJRC meetings hall, March 11, 2003.

  12. Brainstorming Session: UJRC held a brainstorming session with Dr. Abdul Elah Al Khatib, the Jordanian former Foreign Minister. UJRC meetings hall, November 27, 2002.

  13. Workshop: The role of Arab Americans in the US Foreign Policy before and after September 11. UJRC meetings hall, September 16, 2002.

  14. Workshop: Russia and Arab Affairs after September 11 Attacks. UJRC meetings hall, August 17, 2002.

  15. Workshop: Arab and Iraqi National Choices and the Scenarios for Attacking Iraq. Marmara Hotel, Amman, July 28, 2002.

  16. Workshop: Prospects of Arab - American Dialogue after September 11, 2001. UJRC meetings hall, July 7, 2002.

  17. Workshop: The United States and Arab Affairs after September 11 Attacks. Days Inn Hotel, Amman, July 10, 2002.

  18. Discussion Session: Arab Elites after September 11, 2001. Marmara Hotel, Amman, October 28, 2001.

  19. Seminar: The World after Durban and the September 11 Attacks. UJRC meetings hall, October 15, 2001.

  20. Seminar: From Durban to September 11. UJRC Meetings Hall, October 7, 2001.

  21. Workshop: Brainstorming with Foreign Minister Dr. Abdul Elah Al Khatib. UJRC meetings hall, September 22, 2001.

  22. Workshop: Iranian View of the Political Developments in Iran. UJRC meetings hall, June 20, 2001.

  23. Workshop: The Latest Reforms in Iran: Between Potential and Expectation. UJRC meetings hall, June 13, 2001.

  24. Workshop: The Third Road and Modern Political Thinking in Europe and the Arab World. Marmara Hotel, Amman, March 28-29, 2001.
     

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- During the years 1994- 2000:

  1. Seminar: Ten Years from the Inception of the Democratic Process in Jordan. Radisson Hotel, Amman, September 6-8, 1998.

  2. National Symposium: The Development of Legislations on Democracy. This was conducted through a series of seven workshops held during the period July 21 – August 8, 1999, at UJRC Meetings Hall:

    1. First Workshop: Freedom of the Press, July 21, 1999.

    2. Second Workshop: Participation and Voting Rights, July 25, 1999.

    3. Third Workshop: Political Freedom and the Right to Organize Gatherings, July 27, 1999.

    4. Fourth Workshop: Personal Status and Citizenship, August 1, 1999.

    5. Fifth Workshop: Legislations Concerning Security and Public Safety, August 3, 1999.

    6. Sixth Workshop: Observing the Constitutionality of the Laws, August 4, 1999.

    7. Seventh Workshop: Work Legislations and Social Security, August 8, 1999.

  3. Symposium: Professional Associations and the Challenges of Democratic Transformation in Jordan. A series of five workshops were held during the period September 15 – 26, 1998, at UJRC Meetings Hall:

    1. First Workshop: Internal Democracy and Characteristics of Establishing Professional Associations. September 15, 1998.

    2. Second Workshop: Women and Professional Associations. September 16, 1998.

    3. Third Workshop: The Political and Professional Role of Professional Associations. September 21, 1998.

    4. Fourth Workshop: Workers Relations and Union Rights in Arab and International Conventions. September 22, 1998.

    5. Fifth Workshop: Professional Associations as Part of Civil Society, September 26, 1998.

  4. Seminar: Freedom of the Media and the Press in Jordan. Le Meridian Hotel, Amman, October 28-29, 1997.

  5. Conference: Jordanian Political Parties - Restrictions and Opportunities. The Royal Cultural Center, Amman. December 1-2, 1996.

  6. Seminar: National Charter and Democratic Transformation Issues in Jordan. Amra Hotel, Amman, June 15-17, 1996.

  7. Seminar: Democracy and the Rule of Law. The Royal Cultural Center, Amman, November 19-21, 1995.

  8. Workshop: Training the Political Party. Regency Palace, Amman, June 11-15, 1994.

  9. Conference: The Jordanian Democratic Movement. Regency Palace, Amman, May 31- June 2, 1994.

  10. Seminar: The Jordanian Writer's Anxiety. League of Jordanian Writers, Amman, February 8, 1994.

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2. Researches 1995-2000

  1. Civil Society and Governance in Jordan
    An international research project included 22 countries, four of which are Arab: Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. The research included eleven cases concerning the Muslim Brotherhood's boycott of the 1997 parliamentary elections, professional and political complications in the role of professional associations, water pollution in the capital in 1998, Anti-Normalization, the Jordanian Environmental Society, the Jordanian Afaf Society, Al Amal Center for Healing, Civil Society and the Jordanian press facing the Publishing Law, Jordanian women and political participation, the inability of Jordanian youth to establish an independent union, the role of The Friends of Chechnya and Ingushetia in the Russian-Chechen war 1994-1996.

  2. Public Non-Governmental Organizations in the Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan; a project implemented in the year 2000.

  3. Political parties in Jordan; a regional research project included ten Arab countries and was executed in the year 1999.

  4. Civil Society and the public sphere in Amman; a research project that included number of Islamic African and Asian capitals and was implemented in the year 1995.

  5. Islamic Brotherhood Party in Jordan; a project implemented in the year 1995.

  6. Islamic Movements and Organizations in Jordan; a project implemented in the year 1995.


The Civil Society and the Jordanian Political Scene Series 1993 - 1998