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Changing Values among Youth in the Arab World

A conference by Goethe-Institut, Cairo and the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, November 23rd and 24th 2004, Cairo

Curator: Dr. Sonja Hegasy, Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin
Contact: Enzio Wetzel, GI Kairo, or Dr. Sonja Hegasy, ZMO,

Programme (draft)


In 2003, the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies proposed lobbying for national youth reports in the Arab world. With a fifty-year old tradition of German Shell Youth Studies, we regard Germany as particularly suited to looking into changing youth values. Whereas many Latin American countries have administered national youth surveys within the last fifteen years, no Arab country as yet disposes of a comprehensive study on the majority of its population. The study carried out by the Moroccan Ministry for Youth and Sports in 2001 addressing 18.109 young people between 15 and 29 years of age is probably unique to date. However, its categories did not include beliefs or attitudes to local and global politics, which we consider to be crucial to the understanding of what Arab societies are striving for.
The Centre for Modern Oriental Studies and the Goethe Institute in Cairo wish to initiate a broader study of this kind in Egypt. We are therefore jointly organizing a two-day seminar in Cairo on the 23rd and 24th November 2004. The aim of the conference is to bring social scientists and government representatives together to discuss the initiation of a youth survey. Sociologists and anthropologists from Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries will present recent value changes among the youth of their respective country. Quantitative studies have so far had the drawback of generally being carried out in urban areas and are furthermore not in a position to reflect change due to lack of older studies for comparison. Consequently, the organizers have also invited speakers to talk about Muslim youth based on qualitative research.
The conference will take advantage of the stay of a group of young researchers from the Free University Berlin, who will share their insights into experiences and problems encountered in the field. Finally the conference aims at finding funds for the first Egyptian National Youth Report.