Changemakerz visit AUC to discuss resilience of Moroccan youth in the Netherlands

24 November 2017

On 8 November, the AUC Common Room had a full house with attendees visiting the Who's in Town lecture titled “Recognising the resilience of Moroccan youth in the Netherlands: from their perspectives”. This was a unique occasion at AUC in which both researchers and practitioners shared their experiences and worked together to demonstrate the resilience found among the youth of these communities.

Discussing identity and resilience among Moroccan youth

When looking at quantitative studies related to topics addressing Moroccan youth in the Netherlands, all too frequently a pessimistic picture emerges as it relates to educational attainment, economic advancement and social mobility when compared to other groups. 

Through the lens of polarisaiton studies, the evening at AUC aimed to offer a glimpse into the opposite end of such claims in order to highlight how, against the odds and mainstream portrayals of this group, there are also many Moroccan youth who are highly achieving and flourishing in Dutch society. During the Who's in Town presentation, the idea of resilience was of critical importance in showing how Moroccan youth in Amsterdam are increasingly working with coaches and mentors to develop their own networks and skills that counter the typical narratives still being portrayed in mainstream media. 

Combining experience and qualitative fieldwork

Not only was salient research that has been conducted on Moroccan youth over the past twenty years cited by Dr. Martha Montero-Sieburth (AUC lecturer) and current research with Domiziana Turcatti (third-year AUC student) presented, but this work was combined with the recounting of experiences by Mohammed Jâouna (Director and Founder of Changemakerz), Abdellah Achaaoui (Trainee, Changemakerz), Saber El Majdoubi (Peer Coach) and Biba de Jongh (Director of Rebel with a Cause).

This panel of guests elaborated on how social activities, mentoring and coaching that they provide empowers, and provides networks and opportunities for these youth. The evening programme was complemented by a surprise visit of Little Mo who shared the importance of having Moroccan role models in Dutch society. Little Mo recounted his search for his own role models, about which he created a documentary. This documentary will be shown at AUC in a follow up event organised later this year. The evening concluded by the sharing of traditional bread made by Najat El Azzouzi.

Getting the AUC community involved

By making visible a population of youth which remains invisible to many, the presenters encouraged the AUC community to engage directly with Moroccan youth to better understand and participate in their efforts to enable more positive life choices.  This important AUC outreach serves as an opportunity for community projects, internships and research initiatives that work with local communities.

Published by  Amsterdam University College