Young Egyptians Reinvent Civic Engagement, Leading To New Forms Of Public Service - Ifi Research And Policy Memo #1
Research and Policy Memo #1 | November 2008
Young Egyptians reinvent civic engagement, leading to new forms of public serviceBarbara Ibrahim
As the largest ever cohort of young people in the Arab World struggles to find its place in society, youth are forging arenas for public participation that draw upon new media and traditional social service. Initiated by young people, this movement responds to the exclusion they feel from family and state structures that block their public participation. It is a new brand of youth movements that Dr. Barbara Ibrahim and other researchers have identified in Egypt, representing a trend that bears important policy implications for positively engaging youth amidst rising unemployment and religious militancy.
“Youth and discourses about youth are treated, in our part of the world in particular, in a very didactic, simplistic way,” said Ibrahim, a leading sociologist and researcher on Arab youth, at a lecture at the American University of Beirut. Commonly conceived as either apathetic and self-absorbed or delinquent and dangerous, young people across the region lack civic spaces to meaningfully participate in society.