• Keynote Speaker

    Making it to Adulthood: When Youth Emerge under Continuous Political Constraint

    Speaker:  Brian K. Barber, PhD, is an International Security Program Fellow at New America, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies – both in Washington, DC – and Emeritus Professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee, where he also founded and directed the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict. Please click here to visit Dr. Barber's website.



    Many of the world's youth grow into adulthood with very limited opportunity and under significant and worsening economic and political pressures.

    Professor Barber will leave directly after the conference for his 40th extended stay in the Gaza Strip. He will summarize his 23-year study of the storied cohort of first intifada (1987-93) Palestinian youth as they have grown into their current adulthood.

    The empirical study is of a representative sample of 1,800 male and female Palestinians of this cohort in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as to their current (2011) wellbeing and their life histories since 1987. The summary will cover study design, funding, staging of multiple methods, challenges, and central findings. Such findings include documentation of the evolving living conditions and their impact on indigenous conceptions of well-being and suffering, identifying the most injurious forms of direct and structural political violence, as well as multiple dimensions of resilience.

    Professor Barber will also forecast the narrative non-fiction book he is now writing on several families in Gaza that he has known intimately over the decades. These deep narratives of three youth-cum-men and their families flesh out the empirical findings by illustrating cultural imperatives that individuals and societies insist on retaining (nationalism, education, family, determination for dignity and rights), and the differing life trajectories individuals take to achieve them despite the prevailing constraints.