Voices of the Arab Youth: Challenges and Consequences of Exclusion
Uprisings in countries across the Middle East during the so-called "Arab Spring," and continuing instability in the region, bring the challenges faced by young people, such as high unemployment, to the forefront of public attention. This project seeks to understand the complexity of youth dissatisfaction and negative coping mechanisms, including radicalization and emigration, in Lebanon (including Syrian refugees) and Tunisia. Despite increasing youth dissatisfaction with the failure of Arab states to address the above issues, this project recognizes untapped youth potential and seeks to promote youth as agents of change, rather than objects awaiting resources and intervention. This project rests on two pillars. The first seeks to understand the challenges, problems, aspirations, inspirations, and perspectives of youth (including women) and then encourages them to engage with positive inspirational figures or role models from their countries. This will be conducted through focus groups, experimental surveys, and role-model workshops. The second analyzes the existing institutional policies that have an impact on youth. A task force process will be launched to discuss, develop, and promote policies that meet youth needs with the relevant government officials and civil society organizations. Through interviews, focus groups, workshops, regional meetings, and publications, including a policy book and policy recommendations, the project will provide new knowledge on what inspires and motivates youth and how role models have an impact on them. The project will also provide a platform for government and institutional dialogue with the aim of making recommendations for reform of policies targeting youth employment and development. IDRC is partnering with the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies on this project.