Studying Youth in the Arab World

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"Youth are a parameter of other wider realities in the region,” says Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute in AUB. In the backdrop of the lack of serious, consistent, credible, and productive centers studying youth issues in the Arab world, the Issam Fares Institute is taking the lead in coalescing research initiatives around the region in an attempt to identify critical knowledge gaps and influence Arab policy‐making on youth affairs. In collaboration with the Goethe Institute, IFI inaugurated an annual seminar dedicated to “Studying Youth in the Arab World,” as part of its Research and Policy Forum on Youth in the Arab World. The seminar gathered around 15 scholars, researchers, and civil society members to present and discuss their research on the different aspects of the lives of Arab youth. The seminar, which covered an array of topics, found its main focus on youth unemployment, identity issues, and political participation. Abdallah Annan of the Goethe Institute finds that the lack of substantive and representative data on youth paves way for ideological interpretations of their situation. In this light, the experience of the German Shell Foundation is of great relevance as it relies on empirical data in studying German youth. The presentation of the Shell Youth Study provides a window for cross‐comparative perspectives on youth as a universally distinctive demographic group. But are Arab youth more than a demographic bulge? Do they share common political, social, economic, and cultural issues? And why is there a need to study youth in the first place?


Sara Mourad

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