The 6th Political Awareness Forum for University Students was held on Monday, 27th November 2017. Its aim was to explore the role of the Federal National Council (FNC) in boosting UAE diplomacy. Under the theme of ‘UAE Parliamentary Diplomacy’ the forum was organized by the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).
At the opening ceremony Tariq Hilal Lootah, undersecretary ti the Minister of State for FNC Affairs, spoke on behalf of Abdul Rahman Bin Mohamed Al Owais, the Minister of Health and Prevention, and the Minister of State for FNC Affairs. He was quoted as saying, “as we launch the forum today, we embark on a new phase in building political awareness amongst university students in the UAE. The Forum actively promotes political participation by young people regarding areas of national interest. By doing so it empowers them to play a role in nation’s political life.”
He added that, “This year’s forum highlights the pivotal role that the members of the FNC play and sheds light on the council’s achievements in enhancing the UAE’s reputation in both regional and international forums.”
Professor Mohamed Al Baili, Vice Chancellor of UAEU, said that, “holding the 6th Political Awareness Forum for University Students at UAEU is a testament to the efforts being made to raise political awareness among students and deep their involvement in society as we strive for greater stability, prosperity and sustainable development. All vital objectives in the empowerment process launched by His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.”
He further went on to say that, “the forum is a key pillar in building political awareness, enhancing political engagement, and promoting national identity and loyalty to the country.” He was, “convinced that young people are the future of the nation and our national leadership has worked very hard to develop our human resources in order to ensure the people of the UAE build the present, the future and maintain the many achievements of the nation. By upholding the values of the nation’s past and being proud of nation’s current achievements, our young people can be creators, innovators and researchers seeking to maintain the UAE’s reputation both regionally and internationally.”
Dr. Maryam Sultan Lootah, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science
in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, spoke during the first session about,
“The Theoretical Dimension of Parliamentary Diplomacy.” The session was chaired by
Dr, Mohammed Bin Huwaiden, Head of the Department of Political Science at UAEU, and
gave an overview of parliamentary diplomacy. It revealed how rapid international developments
have created new forms of diplomacy. In addition to official diplomacy (conducted
by ambassadors from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation)
the UAE has adopted parliamentary diplomacy.
Also speaking was Hamad Bin Salmeen Al Suwaidi, Director of the Parliamentary Division in General Secretariat of the FNC. He introduced the institutional framework for UAE parliamentary diplomacy. He pointed out that national parliaments today are active in diplomatic efforts and added that the FNC has been developing its overseas parliamentary relations by strengthening cooperation with parliaments around the world.
The second session was on the, “Practical Dimension of UAE Parliamentary Diplomacy,” and was moderated by Dr. Saeed Mohammad Al Ghafli, an assistant undersecretary for FNC Affairs in the Ministry of State for FNC Affairs.
Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Jarman, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Legal Affairs, addressed the relationship between parliamentary diplomacy and the UAE’s foreign policy. He explained that the FNC’s parliamentary diplomacy played an important role in raising issues facing the UAE with other parliaments around the region and also the world. Foremost amongst these issues was the status of the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb.
Ali Jassem, FNC Member and Vice President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), spoke on behalf of the Arab Group and lauded the FNC’s influential role in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as well as the impact of the UAE Parliamentary Division in the IPU in promoting parliamentary diplomacy.
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