Stories from Afar & Up Close

Marginalization and Mobilization of Youth in the Near East

“…More than other groups, [Youth in the Near East] have to face situations in which the cultural scripts, messages and codes of the various agencies of socialization are often inconsistent and irreconcilable. Just witness the disparate and conflicting messages they are being subjected to: religious authority, state, national or secular ideologies, family and kinship groups, peer subculture, popular and cyber culture and, as of late, all the seductive appeals of global commodified consumerism, virtual images and life styles. Arab youth today are consequently caught between a poignant and unsettling predicament: traditional vectors of stability and loyalty (family and state) are being undermined, while the modern alternative sources of education, employment, security, public opinion have proved unable to fill the void. The young are also afflicted by another dissonant reality. They are often conceived and celebrated as the “hopes and builders of the future,” yet stigmatized and feared as disruptive and parasitic forces.”

I’ll be speaking at this two-day conference at the American University of Beirut tomorrow afternoon. Come join us if you have the chance! The program can be found here.