Colloquium of students with Parliamentarians
30 students from the University participate in the first 'Meeting between parliamentarians and university students'
The debate, which brought together representatives of all the political parties represented in the Parliament of Navarre, focused on the figure of the parliamentarians from a legal, personal and social point of view.
The Parliament of Navarra hosted the first 'Meeting between parliamentarians and university students'. A debate organized within the framework of activities covered by the agreement between Parliament and the University of Navarra brought together thirty young students and a parliamentary spokesman from each of the political groups represented in the Chamber.
The meeting, held behind closed doors, focused on the figure of the parliamentarian from a legal, personal and social point of view. The students of Law, and Education and Communication took advantage of the chance to question the parliamentarians on issues such as their group´s independence, professional vocation, the social image of those holding public office, or how to improve the quality of our political life.
The event was opened by Alberto Catalan, president of the Parliament of Navarra, and the parliamentarians from each party that participated were Carlos García Adanero (UPN), María Victoria Arraiza (PSN), Patxi Zabaleta (NaBai), Koldo Amezketa (Bildu), Amaya Zarranz (PPN) and Marisa de Simón (I-E).
According to Asunción de la Iglesia, Professor of Constitutional Law and academic secretary of the Parliamentary Forum at the University of Navarra, bringing parliamentarians and students face-to-face was of mutual benefit. "The parliamentarians received a first-hand impression of the students impressions and concerns on the activities they carry out, and the students, for their part, got to meet the parliamentarians in the flesh, without intermediaries, enabling them to reach their own conclusions about their activities, ideals, political vocation, prerogatives, commitment, etc...
Javier Laspalas, Professor at the Department of Education, highlighted the relaxed, informal atmosphere that led to a fluid dialogue during the meeting. "The Parliamentarians felt very comfortable, which helped them to express themselves fluently and frankly". Javier Laspalas also wanted to stress that "all the parliamentarians get along well despite their ideological differences", a fact that, in his opinion, "contrasts strongly with the fierce tone of the public debates".
Ana Acilu, a fourth year Pedagogy student from Vitoria is of the same opinion: "I was positively surprised by all the politicians as they answered all the questions and their responses coincided well."
Politicians, "like a museum piece"
According to Almudena Azcárate, fist year Law student from Pamplona, "politicians have always been like paintings hung in a museum. Not because they are works of art, but because 'they are to be seen from a distance without touching". However, I left the meeting with a different vision to that I had beforehand and for the first time it made me see them as people like me, human beings with feelings, opinions, moods ... Intellectually, we all know that this is so but in practice, how many of us choose to ignore it?".
In this sense, Almudena Azcárate was sympathetic with our political class. "As representatives of those that voted them in, the demands made on them are much higher than that of any other citizen. A job well done is not something to be rewarded - our votes are sufficient – as it is their obligation. However, mistakes made by them can have far more devastating consequences than if they were committed by any one of us. Regardless of their extent, the decisions that they make in the political sphere are all important, such that they must be certain that those they take are the right ones. As such, the mistakes made by politicians have a long lasting impact on their name and reputation.
According to Ana Acilu, the most important qualities or personal virtues that aid a politicians in their parliamentary activity, are "the ability to listen, and to understand the ideas and proposals presented by other political parties and their supporters, empathising with their thinking and not taking extreme political positions, rather considering and presenting approaches that are not just black and white but that take into account the entire greyscale".
The University Student-Parliamentarian Meetings are one of several activities programmed for 2012 under the Agreement between the Parliament of Navarra and the University of Navarra in order to improve civic participation and the awareness of public institutions. This first edition was organized by the Parliamentary Forum and the Civic Parliament.