UNRWA students elect the second ever Agency-wide Student Parliament

07 December 2018
Twenty-two UNRWA students are elected to represent their schools in the Agency-wide UNRWA school parliament. © 2018 UNRWA

On November 21, the 22 newly elected members of the second ever UNRWA-wide student parliament, representing Palestine Refugee boys and girls from the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria met during a workshop organized in Beirut. 

They convened after their successful elections to discuss their priority objectives and action plan for the coming twelve months. They also elected a President, a Vice-President and a Secretary.

Fourteen-year-old Ahmad Al-Jamal, from Rafah in Gaza, was elected President and told his colleagues:  “We have a big responsibility and must work together in the interest of all UNRWA students”.

Thirteen year-old Saja Sbehat, from Nablus in the West Bank, was elected Vice-President. Fifteen year-old Islam Borqan, from South Amman in Jordan, assumed the position of Parliament Secretary.

Over the past two years, UNRWA has invested a great deal of energy to empower Palestine refugee youth and create a platform to foster participation. UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl congratulated the newly elected members: ”You have been elected to represent 530,000 boys and girls who live in difficult environments and they will expect you to carry their voices to us and the world. I encourage you and call on you to assume your roles with modesty and a deep sense of responsibility”.

The Agency-wide Student Parliament was first established in 2017, providing an opportunity for UNRWA students to get to know each other, exchange experiences, work together to support their communities, and advocate for their rights locally, regionally, and globally. This Agency-level platform builds on the school-level student parliaments operational in UNRWA schools since 2001.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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