Jay Wood: Demarginalization of Tunisian Youth

Young men fishing on the beach in Carthage.
A set for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace near the city of Tataouine in the south of Tunisia

After spending 2 months in Tunis, I am extremely grateful for the experiences I have had relating to this research and outside of it. I have been able to hang out and talk to a lot of young Tunisians and learn about their experiences, as well as meet a lot of interesting people with creative solutions to the problem of youth marginalization within the country. Towards the end of my trip, while I was conducting research in the south of Tunisia, I was able to go visit a few Star Wars sets that were based on the settlements of the indigenous Amazigh. It was a really cool bridge between an aspect of my research and my childhood.

Following one of my best interviews with an NGO founder, he invited me to visit his job managing a hotel in the medina of Tunis. I arrived on my last night in Tunisia, we had dinner and drinks on the rooftop overlooking the medina and talked about all kinds of topics. During this conversation, I reached multiple a-ha moments that steered my research paper and allowed me to see the role of youth in Tunisia in an entirely new light. I started to piece together aspects of my research that I couldn’t previously find connections between. At the end of the night, because it was late, he insisted that I stay in a hotel suite free of charge where I was able to process much of my research. It was a great end to my trip and I have never felt more welcomed anywhere else I have been in the world.