18 - 24 November 1999
Issue No. 456
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
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Everyday challengesBy Amr El-Shobki *
The Youth and Sports portfolio was modified in the current cabinet by removing sports from the ministry's mandate. The state seems to be recognising the existence of a "youth question" far larger than might be indicated by lumping youth and sports under a single ministry.
The first challenge facing the new ministry is to identify the concerns of young people today. This generation is very different from its predecessors, who lived through times of great challenges: independence before 1952, and national liberation in the aftermath of the Revolution.
Today's young people, on the other hand, may be called the generation of lesser challenges. Its dreams are focused on jobs, education and housing. This generation has expressed its identity by addressing the question of the regime's efficiency rather than its capacity for heroism.
Today's youth are interested in public issues and action; but the monolithic youth organisation is a thing of the past. One need only compare the relative success of the Socialist Youth Organisation in the '60s to the utter failure of attempts to replicate it.
Today, we must revitalise the 4,000 Youth Centres throughout the country, transforming them into truly representative platforms aimed at improving young people's skills. The Youth Ministry also needs to bring politics back to the university. The current fear of political activity among young people is as bizarre as it is unjustifiable. Politics is fundamental in forming leaders for the future, unfettered by closed ideological systems.
*This week's Soapbox speaker is a researcher at the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.