On the 6th of March, the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS), jointly with the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, hosted Mr. Martin Chungong, the Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Mr. Chungong delivered a lecture entitled, "Parliament for Democracy, for Everyone: The Role of Inter-Parliamentary Union." The lecture was moderated by Dr. Khalil Osman, Senior Research Fellow in CHS at the Foundation Building.
Following a brief introduction, Mr. Chungong discussed the role of the IPU in promoting democratic governance, institutions, and values. He highlighted that the IPU's vision is to have "a world where every voice counts," on the national, subnational and international levels. In his discussion of the IPU strategy 2022-2026, he stated that its key objective is to build an effective parliamentary ecosystem for democracy and for everyone. The strategy focuses on various key areas, such as democracy, climate change, human rights, gender equality, youth participation, peace and security, and sustainable development.
Mr. Chungong also discussed how the IPU, through its global convening role and accountable mechanism, provides unique platforms for dialogue and interaction, and voices the concerns of parliaments at the international level on major issues. Another main role of the IPU is to "build strong democratic parliaments" by tackling challenges that hinder parliament and democracy, stressing that democracy is a resilient system with the capacity to self-correct and be in constant renewal, especially in times of crisis.
During the discussion session, there were questions around the Arab Spring, the recent wave of democratic transitions in the MENA region, youth engagement in parliaments, and the work of the IPU on building institutions in post-conflict countries.
It is noteworthy that, in 2014, Mr. Chungong became the first African and first non-European to be elected as Secretary-General of the IPU, which was established in 1889. He boasts rich experience and knowledge of parliaments at national and international levels that exceed four decades. Furthermore, he built an impressive portfolio in the promotion of dialogue and conflict resolution, with a focus on helping countries to emerge from conflicts.
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