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UNRWA Students Elect the Third Agency-Wide Student Parliament
On November 23, the 22 newly elected members of the third Agency-wide Student Parliament (ASP), representing all of the Agency’s fields of operation – Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, came together for a four-day workshop held in Beirut.
At the workshop, participants explored topics such as democratic practices, leadership, participation, decision-making, and communications. The students developed their work-plan to guide the activities of the ASP over the coming year. They also elected a President, a Vice-President and a Secretary.
Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Al Farra from Gaza was elected the President of the ASP. Following the announcement of the election results, Mohammad said, “I am very happy that my colleagues put their trust in me and I also feel a great responsibility.” Fifteen year-old Dala’ Loubani from Lebanon was elected Vice-President andthirteen year-old Ghaith Sulaiman from Syria assumed the position of Parliament Secretary.
The Agency-wide Student Parliament was first established in 2017, providing an opportunity for UNRWA students to 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.
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.
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