Arab Youth grew up in the region pigeonholed by a number of dichotomies: rich versus poor; Islam versus secularism; and democracy versus authoritarianism. Recent events in number of countries in the Arab States were very visual manifestation of the conflict between traditionalism and modernism. This conflict is particularly manifesting itself through the pressure that the media, communication and information technology expansion is making on he conventional structures of totalitarian societies. It also indicated dramatic shift in distorted perception about the region’s lack of aspiration to democracy and weak governance systems. The rift between established regimes and the young people was what sparked the historic events - - first in Tunisia and Egypt and then throughout the rest of region. These events proved that ideals of young people in the Arab States are not so different from those in other countries: they want more freedom, jobs, equality, and justice. They are also demanding to be listened to and to be respected, and to be a part of decision making about their present, as well as their futures.
The course will explore the role that entertainment, media and particularly social media can play in developing the concept of citizenship. Through guest speakers facilitated discussion, we will try to address some of the major questions emerged through “Arab Spring”: How did young people get engaged in the revolutions. What are the lessons learned? How to develop mechanisms to strengthen civic participation of young people and in this context explore how can young people utilize renewed confidence in their own capacity and ‘potential for change’ to further foster the culture of citizenship in Arab societies? What kinds of change do young people want to see in the Arab region? In the world? Who are these young people? Who are the leaders? How can young people utilize momentum to advance human rights, and promote principles of equity and equality, improved youth empowerment and meaningful participation in democratic processes? What types of advocacy efforts are needed to promote youth centered leadership? How do we bring forward the voices of the marginalized and the disadvantaged young people? Is the role of the social media and communication channels overstated?