Understanding Marginalized Communities in the Arab World Workshop


Sat - Tue, Jan 26 to Jan 29, 9:00am - 3:00pm


Kuwait University

Led by Amaney Jamal, Mark Tessler and Michael Robbins

The Rational of the project

It is well established among students of the Middle East and mere observers that the masses of ordinary citizens of most of the MENA region are engulfed in political and socio-economic discontent, and that the wave of protest that had lately overcome these societies did little to lessen the peoples’ disgruntlement. The lesson, among many others, that can be learnt from the upheavals (popular or otherwise) in the MENA region, is that may be, the only meaningful and lasting improvement in the living conditions of those masses can be brought about by an accumulative and incremental change. Marginalized groups constitute the bulk of the impoverished population in MENA region. Thus, improving the lives of members of these marginalized groups lies in finding practical solutions to their predicaments. And here rests one of the lacunas in public policies: problems facing the marginalized groups in the Middle East and North Africa are either inadequately diagnosed or frequently overlooked by decision makers. Additionally, practical solutions for the fate of marginalized groups has not been a consistent priority for many scholars of the region. Hence, a paramount task is to develop an appropriate and objective understanding of these predicaments and recommend suitable solutions. Accordingly, the two main objectives of this series of workshops over the coming two years are:

1) To improve the lives of marginalized groups in the Middle East and North Africa through proposing practical solutions based on an objective understanding to the plights of these groups.

2) To empower young Arab social scientists by enhancing and sharpening their research skills that heighten their abilities to produce scrupulous, data-based, problem-focused (and also scholarly) research. More specifically, this objective consists of abetting Arab young scholars to (A) design and carry out problem-focused research, and (B) prepare reports, policy briefs and recommendations based on this research, and author more scholarly papers that can be submitted to peer-reviewed journals.

Objectives and goals for the First 4-Day Workshop

This workshop is the first of the four workshops which will be organized during the two coming years. The initial workshop is an introduction to the use of quantitative methods in the social sciences with focus on research design and techniques. It will familiarize the participants with the process and methods of using empirical research. It aims at enabling the participants with the following:

  • Good understanding of basic elements of data-based social science research
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis
  • Insights about data-based research on issues pertaining to women and gender
  • Preliminary ideas about participant research project