Youth as Agenda-Setters between Donors and Beneficiaries: The Limited Role of Libyan Youth after 2011

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Chiara Loschi Department of Philosophy and Communication, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy,

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Based on interviews with young Libyan professionals carried out between 2017 and 2018, this paper examines their role as agenda-setters in international organizations operating in their country since 2011. The growing foreign demand for local expertise after the fall of the old regime was met mostly by the young activists who had helped organize the 2011 uprisings. For foreign organizations, Libyan youth have come to embody brokers, fixers, go-betweens, and persons-in-between, becoming key supporting actors in international project implementation. Despite the opportunities seemingly afforded by the collapse of the old regime, this paper shows that Libyan youth, torn between desires for political change and professional advancement, have struggled to influence the agendas of international organizations, leading to feelings of disenfranchisement. The transformative capacity of international projects is thus often limited by this new class of young, globalized elites who are disengaged from the local needs and realities facing Libyan civil society.

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