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French Version


NDU hosts 'Democracy and Decentralization' conference

Panelists tackle issue of difficulties of transition period

The implementation of a democratic and decentralized system of governance is imperative to Lebanon's search for sustainable peace, stability and freedom, according to Notre Dame University President Father Walid Moussa.

Moussa's comments came during the opening session of a two-day conference titled "Democracy and Decentralization: Local Feudalism and Globalized Systems" held Monday at Notre Dame University.

The conference is the first in a series of seminars to be held by the university's Lebanese Center for Societal Research. They will tackle the problems a centralized government faces when transforming into a democratic decentralized system of rules.

Moussa said that "Lebanon, although it is currently lacking stability and security, is looking forward to rebuilding itself with determination and hope."

He added there is a need to implement and adopt the notion of a democratic and decentralized system that answers the political, social and cultural needs of the country and its people.

Moussa argued there is a national need to debate and research the political notions of democracy and decentralization more thoroughly, as democratic systems the world over are failing from a lack of research and educational guidelines to foster democratic practices.

Earlier this year, NDU proposed a working paper for permanent research and discussion with local and international participation to explore educational methods that would promote a democratic and decentralized Lebanese government.

He also considered pluralism in Lebanese society as an advantage that will facilitate the country's reform.

Michel Nehme, the head of the Political Science Department at NDU, said that people can best control their institutions when they adopt a democratic decentralized government.

He argued that this is because a democratic and decentralized government places a high value on the equality of individuals and would allow people to live as freely as possible.

"Democratic decentralized governance insists that necessary restraints be imposed only by the consent of the majority and that they conform to the principle of equality," he said.

Beirut 07-11-2005
Nada Bakri
The Daily Star



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