Disseminating findings from research with Palestinian children and adolescents
For more than half a century Palestinian children and their care givers have lived a temporary existence in the dramatic and politically volatile landscape of the Middle East. These children have been captive to various sorts of stereotyping, both academic and popular. They have been projected, as have their parents and grandparents, as passive victims without the benefit of international protection. And they have become the beneficiaries of numerous humanitarian aid packages based on the Western model of child development and the psychosocial approach to intervention. In January 1999, a research project examining the impact of prolonged forced migration and armed conflict on the lives of Palestinian children and young people was initiated in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. The project had several goals. One was to bridge the theoretical and applied divide common to much of the research directed at Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Another was to test and challenge some of the Western medical and developmental assumptions concerning child and adolescent development. A third was to engage in multi-disciplinary, participatory research to draw out the similarities and differences between Palestinian refugee communities separated for more than 50 years by the national borders of different states.