The Arab Families Working Group (AFWG) is a collective of sixteen scholars from universities, NGOs and research foundations whose work focuses on youth and families in Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt and their diasporas. Founded in 2001, AFWG is committed to advancing the state of empirical and theoretical knowledge on Arab families and articulating research processes and outcomes with practitioners and policy makers. AFWG projects include comparative, transnational, interdisciplinary, and collaborative work on the three countries and diasporic Arab families in the United States and Canada.
Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt emerged as the foci for AFWG work because of the critical mass of ethnographic and historical studies available on these countries. Each country, with a long history of institution building around family studies and women’s studies, also represents different historical developments and regional dynamics. Palestine is a state in formation, having endured a half century of dislocation, occupation, war, violence, and national liberation movement. Lebanon, while rebuilding its state and society, continues to be unstable after seventeen years of civil war. The Egyptian state and society is slowly transforming under pressure of structural adjustment and socio/political challenges. Comparisons of these data-rich countries and their diasporas provides a critical basis for future research on families and youth in other Arab countries.
AFWG is co-hosted at The American University in Cairo (Egypt) and the University of California, Davis (USA). An institutional network has contributed to the work of AFWG, including: The American University in Cairo, (Social Research Center and Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies), The Population Council, Cairo, The Lebanese American University, Beirut (Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World), Birzeit University, West Bank (Institute of Women’s Studies), The University of California, Davis (Anthropology, Women and Gender Studies, and Middle East/South Asia Studies).