From education to employment? Trajectories for young people in Lebanon in the context of protracted displacement.

Lead Research Organisation: Oxford Brookes University
Department Name: Faculty of Tech, Design and Environment

Abstract

The overall question we seek to address in this research project is: In displacement settings, what shapes the trajectories of young people from education into employment? The project will analyse the trajectories from education to employment of young Palestinian refugees, young Syrian refugees and young Lebanese in two regions of Lebanon. Young people are here defined as people between the age of 15 and 29 years old in line with the official Lebanese definition.
The project is a collaboration between the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University and the Centre for Lebanese Studies at the Lebanese American University in Beirut.

Lebanon has received the most refugees in the world relative to its population. The arrival of refugees and its location in the Middle East has contributed to increased unemployment levels, a more vulnerable economy, and an overall reduction in welfare among its diverse population of Lebanese and non-Lebanese nationals. Lebanon is one of many countries where refugees cannot automatically work and where work can only be accessed through a work permit. The project will analyse trajectories from education and into employment in interaction with political, economic and social development at local, national and global scales. Currently, there is limited research examining the relationship between education and employment prospects for children and young people in the context of protracted displacement and conflict. The proposed project seeks to rectify this gap in knowledge by focusing on how young people move from education to employment. With an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners, the key idea is to understand the role of displacement and the particular status and restrictions that come with this status. Lebanon is a highly relevant example because the trajectories of refugees in varying displacement contexts may be juxtaposed with trajectories of Lebanese young people who may have experienced internal displacement and conflict, but nevertheless have a legal status that allows formal employment. With calls for more understanding of displacement and urban contexts, the project will consider two different urban contexts in Lebanon: the suburb of Bourj Al Barajneh in Beirut and the Southern town of Saida. The principal research questions we seek to answer in this research are:

1. How does legal status (refugee, national, migrant, displaced) and the accompanying rights and restrictions of that status impact trajectories from education to employment?
2. What is the interaction between different types of education (including no education) and employment for different groups of young people in the context of protracted displacement?

In order analyse trajectories from education to employment, we will collect and formulate narratives along the following dimensions that may impact trajectories from education to (un)employment:
a. Background, family-history, place of origin and capabilities of young individuals
b. Narratives of individual young people's trajectories navigating from education to employment
c. Local context and place-based characteristics
d. National and local level institutional arrangements and policies on education and employment

We will conduct 180 interviews from young people and 180 with their families, in addition to interviews to construct place-based and institutional narratives. From a collective analysis with the principal stakeholders of this research we will formulate profiles of typical and unusual trajectories from education to employment. The trajectories will be analysed by seeking to explain turning points in individual narratives by intersecting dimensions in family narratives, place based narratives and institutional narratives. From the narratives, we will also set up a play and an exhibition in close collaboration with our partners in Lebanon Al Jana and Blue Mission.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research?
The primary stakeholders of this project are young people in Lebanon, Syrian refugees, Palestinian refugees and young Lebanese nationals in areas with Syrian and Palestinian refugees and their families. In addition, stakeholders and those who will directly benefit from our research will include: policy makers at national and international level, local and national authorities; local, national and international civil society in Lebanon and beyond; and host communities.


How will they benefit from this research?
As a result of the project we seek to influence the ways in which education and employment are considered together in refugee policies and we will be able to provide advice for specific areas of intervention.
The project will be a resource for understanding how to target and assist particular groups of young people and hence become a useful tool in programming for local and national organisations. The project will also help to strengthen the bonds between international, national and local governmental and non governmental organisations. The collaborative model between academics and practitioners will directly strengthen research capacities in the two partnering organisations AlJana and Blue Mission. The project will also provide the two organisations with unique access to data and analyses. Through the partner organisations and other stakeholder encounters, we will also be able to engage in direct advocacy at all geographical scales.

Young people - the primary stakeholders - of this research will tell their stories and be involved in analysing their stories and creating explanations around the various trajectories of the profiles will be constructing. In this way, young people will develop more insights into the conditions in which they live. The workshops and interactions between young people and between different groups of young people will also enable social capital through the strengthening of local and national networks and increased social cohesion in a fragmented society.


What will be done to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from this activity?
A collaborative approach is our main response to the question about what we will do to ensure that primary stakeholders have the opportunity to benefit from the project. For young people and their families, we will not just conduct interviews with them, but they will also be involved in analysing the data in focus group discussions, performing the insights of the data through a play and through an exhibition of their stories. For the partner organisations, we will have staff employed in the organisations that will work actively in the project and help to embed the research into the organisations. For local authorities, we will run workshops and stakeholder meetings and they will be invited to exhibitions and to the play. For national and international policy makers we will be conducting stakeholder meetings and seminars in Beirut, London and Geneva and also create arenas where academics, policy makers and practitioners come together. We will also publish widely from the project. In order to make sure we can reach a wide audience, we aim to publish shorter opinion pieces that will be published widely through social media.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Our data collection is ongoing and it is too early to present overall results. However, we would like to mention principal achievements and developments in our project so far.

A major achievement is the development of an analytical model and method for studying young people's trajectories from education to employment in the context of uncertainty and protracted displacement, taking into account young people's definitions of youth, in which age is not a primary marker. We believe that our work will be helpful for other studies in this field and the work will be disseminated widely (see below).

Our second main achievement is the relationship between the development of this analytical model and the context of Lebanon's financial crisis and the revolution that started in Lebanon on the 17th October. These events altered the context of our research, opening up new research perspectives and approaches. The revolution has clearly created a more explicit reflection around uncertainty for the young people interviewed. Young people interviewed are differently positioned in relation to the revolution. The Revolution, which in many ways is a reaction to the deep financial crisis in the country, is also a protest against the sectarianism and the discrimination that many groups feel. However, the space of protest in the revolution is mainly a Lebanese one and the Palestinian and Syrian population are not having their voices heard. Lebanon's revolution started in the midst of our data collection and interviewing were slowed down for several months due to the security situation. However, data collection resumed in the New Year and while we were not interviewing during the peak of the protests, data collection through observations, discussions and participation took place in different ways by our team.

The third achievement is a policy analysis of education and employment policies and their relevance for different groups in Lebanon was conducted as part of formulating institutional narratives. So far, one publication has been submitted within this theme, reflecting on the meaning of education in the context of protracted displacement (Exceptional and futureless humanitarian education in Lebanon: Prospects for shifting the lens. Paper submitted to Refuge, open access).

Finally, the collaborations between the Centre for Lebanese Studies and the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice as well as with civil society partners in Lebanon have revealed multiple levels of power relations and the team is spending time to develop our collaborations and partnerships. The work is being documented and will form the basis for our contribution to a methodology conference we co-organise in Amman, Jordan. We will also participate in a panel discussion on South-North collaborations at the IASFM conference in Ghana in July 2020; and on Knowledge, Power, and Middle Eastern Studies at the BRISMES conference in Canterbury in June 2020. Shuayb and Brun have submitted a paper to a special section on methodology for the Journal of Refugee Studies on a paper titled: Carving out space for equitable collaborative research in protracted displacement. A paper will be presented on the experiences from the creative productions in collaboration with our NGO partners at the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) conference in Ghana by Dina Batshon (CLS): Why creative production and how to proceed?.
Exploitation Route First, we believe that our analytical and methodological frameworks will be useful to other researchers in the field. Two papers on the analytical model will be presented in the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) conference in Ghana from 27th to 30th July: Aspirations and value of education when rights to work are limited: protracted displacement in Lebanon and Jordan and Studying young people's trajectories - a methodological intervention. A session for the conference: Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future by the Royal Anthropological Institute (June 2020) titled "Trajectories of refuge: protracted displacement and humanitarian responses" is organised by Cathrine Brun in collaboration with Dr. Tania Kaiser (SOAS). Brun will present a paper: Young, displaced and aspiring to work: navigating uncertain and shifting landscapes of opportunities and constraints in Lebanon and Jordan. We are currently in discussion with humanitarian organisations and academics in East Africa (Great lakes and Horn of Africa) to use the ideas and analytical model to conduct a similar study there.

Second, we believe that understanding how young people enter employment and the meaning of their education for employment in the current climate of uncertainty and precarity will be important for formulating employment policies in displacement settings. An international workshop to be held on the 28th and 29th April at the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), Oxford Brookes (titled "Navigating from education to employment in crisis and uncertainty") will bring together academics, policy-makers and practitioners with the aim of disseminating research findings more widely and identifying productive avenues to create impact. We are currently establishing contingency measures due to Coronavirus and participants and keynote speakers being worried about travel.

Third, the findings so far can be useful for redesigning the ways in which education is offered in protracted displacement.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education

URL https://lebanesestudies.com
 
Description Towards employment? Youth trajectories in Jordan and Lebanon's refugee crisis
Amount $546,528 (USD)
Organisation International Development Research Centre 
Sector Public
Country Canada
Start 01/2019 
End 08/2020
 
Description Hala Caroline Abou Zaki is fellow at the Institut Convergences et Migrations (France) which brings together hundreds of researchers from French research centers and universities who work on migration issues. 
Organisation College of France
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I collaborate and contribute to this partnership by participating in the research activities of the institute (attend internal meetings, workshops and seminars)
Collaborator Contribution As a fellow, this is an opportunity to present and discuss the research of our awarded project "From education to employment". I can exchange on the project with the other fellows of the institute who work on migration issues in the field of social sciences and humanities.
Impact Meetings and discussion about the project Disseminate the project within a network of hundreds of researchers who work on migration issues Develop possible future partnerships with French research centers and universities
Start Year 2018
 
Description LERRN: Local Engagement Refugee Research Network. It consists of a team of researchers and practitioners committed to promoting protection and solutions with and for refugees. Its goal is to ensure that refugee research, policy and practice are shaped by a more inclusive, equitable and informed collective engagement of civil society. Through collaborative research, training, and knowledge-sharing, it aim to improve the functioning of the global refugee regime and ensure more timely protection 
Organisation Carleton University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The project hosted three internships of graduate students at CLS who helped with the interviews and literature reviews. We are also co-organising a conference on Global North/South collaboration in Context of displacement in May 30 and 31 2020 We are co-organising a panel at the upcoming International Association of the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM): Building sustainable research ecosystems on refugee and forced migration studies in the global South:
Collaborator Contribution Based on our collaboration, our local NGO partner Al Jana was also invited by LERRN to Canada to present their work on oral Palestinian history. Two of our research team members attended LERRN refugee summer school in Kenya which explored migration studies. During the workshop our team members discuss the Lebanese and Jordanian response to the Syrian crisis and exchanged their experiences with colleagues from the African context and policy makers. https://carleton.ca/lerrn/2019/launch-of-innovative-training-on-forced-migration/
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration and the outputs are still in progress
Start Year 2019
 
Description Blog posts 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Over the period of the project, we are publishing blogposts on the CENDEP blog
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://cendep.blogspot.com/2019/11/work-in-progress-exceptional-and.html
 
Description Carving out space for equitable collaborative research in protracted displacement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Max Planc institute for Social Anthropology, Department of Law, Germany:
Event: Vulnerability under the global protection regime 20 Feb 2020
Talk: Carving out space for equitable collaborative research in protracted displacement (by Maha Shuayb based on paper by Shuayb and Brun)

Around 40 people attended the talk which was part of the kick of of a new Horizon 2020 funded research grant which brings together scholars from the Global North and South. Hence the talk was very timely for us to think about equitable research collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Exceptional and futureless humanitarian education in Lebanon: Prospects for shifting the lens. By Maha Shuayb and Cathrine Brun 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was part of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes Public Seminar Series:
In this talk, we aim to unpack and analyse the potentials and shortcomings of a humanitarian framework for educational responses in protracted displacement. Most literature on this topic tends to examine humanitarianism and education separately and few studies have analysed the effect of the humanitarian model on the education provisions and policies and most importantly on the outcomes. Humanitarianism is concerned with the immediate while education is a future oriented-activity. Hence the interrelation between the two might appear an oxymoron. At the same time, calls to shift the humanitarian discourse from relief and survival to development have given strong grounds to include education as part of the humanitarian response in a situation of crisis. Yet there is a lack of clarity concerning the concept of development which the education provisions rest on. In the talk we will unpack the concept of education in emergency and its effect on students' schooling outcomes. The study focuses on Lebanon as a case to analyse the potentials and limitations of this model. To do so, the study analyses the educational policies and interventions Lebanon introduced in the last seven years since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis and examine their impact on the education outcomes of Syrian children. In conclusion, we reflect on some of the potential outcomes of the current model and introduces some alternatives to the current education system for refugees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://cendep.blogspot.com/2019/11/work-in-progress-exceptional-and.html
 
Description Lebanon Uprising - the road to reform? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A panel discussion was held in London to discuss how can the hopes of the Lebanese people for a less corrupt and less sectarian political system be fulfilled? What needs
to be done to rebuild the economy and avoid financial meltdown? The panel attended in particular to the question The talk unpacked the economic roots of the crisis and its effect on youth. Expert panelists debated around these themes and answered the audience's questions. Panelists were: Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS; Dr. Maha Shuayb, Director of the Centre forLebanese Studies; Paul Raphael, Founding Chairman of LIFE. Joumanna Bercetche, CNBC Anchor moderated the talk.
200 people attended and the event was streamed online.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://lebanesestudies.com/events/lebanon-uprising-the-road-to-reform/
 
Description Lebanon's "October revolution" : An end to the civil war? Op Ed by Alexandra Kassir 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The OpEd presented a contextualisation to the October Revolution in Lebanon
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://lebanesestudies.com/papers/lebanons-october-revolution-an-end-to-the-civil-war/
 
Description Palestinian and Syrian Families Refugees in Lebanon Faced with Uncertainty: Preliminary Reflections (in French) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The talk, on March 2020, was given during a seminar at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Hala Abou Zaki presented her preliminary reflections on Palestinian and Syrian families refugees in Lebanon facing with uncertainty, based on the data she has collected during her fieldwork in Lebanon.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Project Launch Oxford Brookes University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact During the Oxford Human Rights Festival in March 2019, we organised a project launch at Oxford Brookes University.
We had Johanna Waters from University of Cambridge commenting on the project. The audience ranged from the general public, to invited NGOs, academics and postgraduate students.

The project was introduced by the three staff employed by the project at Oxford Brookes University, Hala Caroline Abou Zaki, Zoe Jordan and Cathrine Brun. After Johanna Waters very informative and thoughtprovoking commentary on the project, we opened up for questions and answers from the audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Project Launch in Beirut, April 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Together with the co-funded IDRC project, we did a project launch in Beirut in April 2019.

The launch attracted a wider range of audience from various Civil society organisations, a representative from the Canadian Embassy, From the British Council,. academic colleagues from different universities in Lebanon, students and project partners.

The launch had presentations and commentary on associated projects in Lebanon from Mona Harb (American University of Beirut), Walid Marrouche (Lebanese American University) and presentations by Oroub ElAbed (representing the Centre for Lebanese Studies in Jordan), Maha Shuayb and Cathrine Brun.

Through the launch, we aimed to make links with some of the key research environments on youth in Lebanon, some of the most important organisations working on relevant themes and to make our project known in the policy environment.

The launch was highly successful and led to a number of new contacts from which the project has benefitted hugely.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Research collaborations with nongovernmental organisations and civil society: the spectacle continues or a potential for decolonising research? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The talk, from January 2020 at Makerere University, used the same idea as an original talk given by Cathrine Brun at the Danish Institute of International Studies. However, the talk focused more on the existing research collaboration between CNEDEP, Oxford Brookes and the Centre for Lebanese Studies through our collaboration on the from Education to Employment project.
The talk circled on the different types of collaborations in the project: North-South Academic collaborations as well as academic-practitioner collaborations.

The audience, mainly academics and postgraduate students from Makerere University, shared their many experiences of such collaborations and we discussed ways in which to transgress the North-South boundaries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Research collaborations with nongovernmental organisations and civil society: the spectacle continues or a potential for decolonising research? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited talk Danish Institute for International Studies 221019 by Cathrine Brun
With discussant from the Danish Red Cross (Head of International Operations).
The talk described the collaboration in the Education to Employment Project with non governmental organisations and discussed some of the issues around co-production of knowledge across different partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The "Refugee Brand" and Humanitarian Education, 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was given by Dr. Maha Shuayb at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 28 Feb 2020. Over 40 students and faculty staff attended. The talk helped answer some of the common questions on Education and Emergency in Lebanon.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://lebanesestudies.com/events/eri-open-seminar-on-friday-28th-february-2020/
 
Description The "Refugee Brand" and Humanitarian Education: a critique of the discourse of education of refugee children 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The talk by Dr Maha Shuayb was part of the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) at UCL "Education in Conflict and Emergencies Seminar Series, 2019/20"
40 people attended the talk which highlighted the challenges of adopting humanitarian education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://lebanesestudies.com/events/perspectives-on-humanitarian-and-refugee-education/
 
Description Understanding protracted displacement through the dwelling: the temporal injustice of the not quite, not yet solutions to refugee crises 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was given at Makere University in Uganda by Cathrine Brun. She presented reflections on the Education to Employment (E2E) project around the relevance of the Refugee Compacts, the meaning of self reliance and protracted displacement.
Using examples from the institutional interviews in the E2E project, she showed how the focus on self reliance in employment policies for refugees represent a temporal injustice.
She was then bringing in other examples from previous research on protracted displacement in Georgia to reflect on the potential impact on the current displacement policies for the experience of protracted displacement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020