22 November 2010
Three hundred members of the Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization visited three refugee camps in Jordan last month, where they met representatives of UNRWA’s school parliaments.
The visitors and parliamentarians exchanged ideas, with the students telling the delegation about their dreams and plans for the future. “When I grow up, I want to become a political analyst,” said Baker, an eighth-grader from Talbiyeh Boys’ School.
Many of those who participated in the visit described it as a life-changing experience. For some it was their first visit to the Middle East, which came on the sideline of the international conference for the two organisations, taking place this year in Jordan.
UNRWA introduced dedicated human rights education into its schools in 2000. One aspect of the programme was the formation of school parliaments, which are active in all 173 schools in Jordan.
The parliaments offer students the opportunity to exercise their right to participate, helping them acquire conflict resolution skills. Students’ involvement in parliamentary activites including the election of class representatives, running campaigns and monitoring voting processes also reinforces their understanding of democracy, human rights and tolerance.
Students also have an active say in the development of their schools, which creates a sense of ownership towards the school.
The Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) is a not-for-profit organisation operated by professional management teams. It is a network that connects 17,000 members and their families in more than 100 countries to learn, exchange ideas and address the challenges leaders face today.
Guided by the mission of building better leaders through education and idea exchange, the organisation provides members with access to unique experiences, world-class resources, alliances with top learning institutions, and specialised networks to enhance their business, community and personal leadership.
To qualify for YPO membership, business leaders must be under the age of 45 and must be the chief operator of a company that fulfils minimum size and complexity criteria. Members graduate to WPO at the age of 50, and can remain in WPO for the rest of their lives.
More about human rights education
More about UNRWA in Jordan