Often people will ask us "Why do you study Palestinians? Aren't young people affected by political conflict all throughout the world?"
The answer to the second question is undoubtedly YES. Young people from Colombia, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt (just to name a few) have experienced conflict, in their own country, on a regular basis. Their experiences should be documented, and, in fact, the Center hosts yearly conferences to do just that. So what is so unique about Palestinians that the Center would embark on a multi-year project to better understand this group of people? Well Palestinians were selected for this study for three reasons:
- Because of their exposure to multiple periods of political conflict (i.e., first intifada, second intifada) and peace (i.e., Oslo) since their early adolescence
- Because of their very high level of participation in political resistance as adolescents and young adults during their first intifada (1987-1993)
- Because when compared to other populations (i.e., Bosnians), Palestinian young people appear to be functioning more positively.
In general, there are very few long-term follow-up studies and those have typically been either very small in scope and/or of refugee populations. In contrast, the PAL project will assess a large, fully representative sample of former Palestinian youth who have remained in their homeland. We hope that with this project, we can better understand the many ways (both positive and negative) political conflict - exposure to and involvement in resistance activities - affects the lives of young people as they mature into adulthood.