His Majesty's Visit to the School of International Relations Sparks Dialogue on Civic Responsibility and Political Reform

On his Majesty’s birthday last Tuesday, King Abdullah bin Al Hussein II honoured the University of Jordan with a visit to the Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II School of International Studies. The visit featured an open dialogue among students on topics from local to international relevance. Particularly, the King emphasised the importance of youth and grass-roots activism, encouraging the students to take a stand for a politically modernised Jordan. 

            The meeting also covered controversial subjects such as the latest developments with the Palestinian Case, and Jordan’s hand in resolving political crises in the region. Further, he emphasised the two-pronged impact of nepotism and political biases upon Jordan’s economy, and the importance of administrative reform and respect for the Rule of Law, ensuring that 2018 will witness acute concentration on administrative reform and the fighting of corruption. Each point was underlined by the imperative role of youth in the process of reform, development, and achievement. 

           On political reform his Majesty the King stated that to move forward with this issue, political parties need to be designed with intent, and “work for citizen’s interest and not just that of a group of people or a geographical area,” adding that “it is hard to continue forward in the political reform process without having two or three strong political parties at least.” Elaborating upon this point, he stated that if in “three years Jordan were to turn its current parliamentarian blocs into political parties that favour political programs, we would be able to form a partisan government.” He then reiterated that any development such as this relies almost solely on Jordan’s two generations, and how the “old and the new” mentalities approach a project of this magnitude.   

            His Majesty called on Jordan’s citizens, young and old, to “pressure MPs to apply the principle of the Rule of Law,” clarifying that the law on the decentralisation of municipalities aims at “transferring power from Amman to the provinces” in order to reinstate decision making “in the hands of the citizen.” His Majesty acknowledged the impact this will have on MPs as the transfer of power to the municipalities would require 50 fewer deputies and parliamentarians, however stressing that it is a necessary sacrifice for future MPs to be deputies of the nation. Again, his Majesty emphasised the significance of public and parliamentarian pressure in ensuring governments and officials progress and strive for change and achievement, going so far as to propose a joint attack, with Jordan’s youth demanding change from the ground up, and the King himself applying pressure from the very top.   

             His Majesty stressed the need to protect poverty-stricken lower classes, and strengthen the middle class, highlighting that political reform is faster and better in countries that have an established and broad middle class. In a similar strain, His Majesty clarified that the royal discussion papers intend to open direct avenues of discussion between citizens and officials to instil a sense of civic responsibility and empowerment in the hopes of encouraging greater efficiency and capacity in the people of Jordan without direct interference from His Majesty. 

            Ultimately, the King’s visit to the Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II School of International Studies highlighted the value of the individual, and the unlimited potential students in particular have to effect positive change in the Kingdom across all platforms, but most vitally in terms of political reform and responsibility. Indeed, the King reminded students to take the current labour market into account when choosing their specialisations, for the sake of economy and civic responsibility. 


Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II School of International Studies
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