The Conference Group on the Middle East (CGME) meets in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. The 2015 meeting convenes in San Francisco, September 2-6.
Young people represent a gigantic majority of the Arab population. While the proportions obviously vary, in places like Iraq, Gaza, Syria and Egypt, upwards of three quarters of the population are young than 30 years. In one case after another, young people face a future of "adulthood denied" to quote the title of a topical monograph, in the sense that they lack the ability to get a decent job, have their own place to live, marry and reproduce the family.
Youths played significant, often leading roles in the demonstrations that marked the first stage of the Arab Awakenings that began in late 2010. The cases of Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen come to mind, but also Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan and certainly Syria, among other instances. Many of the youthful political activists and mobilizers were later marginalized as better organized, more experienced and more brutal actors displaced them and state elites clawed back power. Today in repressive Egypt, for example, many of the key youth actors are in jail serving long terms for disobedience, organizing protests or a variety of trumped up charges.The CGME will address youth politics after the Arab Awakenings: Is there a "youth politics", are there organized political forces devoted to youth causes, and what has been the enduring impact of formal or informal associational life on the texture and content of politics in the Middle East; has something important changed? The welcomes empirically informed papers that rigorously address single cases, including studies of single associations, parties or interest groups, country studies, or comparative studies. Theoretically oriented papers are welcome as well.
CGME: three decades ago, little serious attention was paid to the Middle East at the annual meetings of the leading disciplinary associations, including the American Political Science Association (APSA). Professor Louis J. Cantori and a small group of colleagues, including this writer, decided in 1983 to create the Conference Group the Middle East (CGME), which convened for the first time in 1984 and has continued ever since.