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Seminário “Youth on the move: unaccompanied minors’ life across Egypt and Italy”

05/12/2017, 18:00

“Youth on the move: unaccompanied minors’ life across Egypt and Italy”

5 de dezembro de 2017, 18h
Multiusos 3, Ed. ID, NOVA FCSH

Oradora: Chiara Diana (CNRS-IREMAM & CEDEJ-Egypt)
Debatedor: Francesco Vacchiano (ICS-ULisboa)
Moderadora: Joana Lucas (CRIA/NOVA FCSH)

Organização: CRIA, AZIMUTE – Estudos em Contextos Árabes e Islâmicos


The 25th January 2011 revolution in Egypt arose enthusiasm among Egyptian people. It had the role of unifying generations in their sense of belonging and their belief about changes and future opportunities. The young people (from the very youngest to under 18 years old) took active part in revolutionary and post-revolutionary events. Their involvement in those events had also a violent impact on their life. Over 300 children were arrested during 2011 protests in Cairo. Nearly 20% of those arrested from September to November 2012 were under 18 years old (Human Rights Watch, 2012). According to International Federation for Human Rights (2015), at least 570 children were arrested for political reasons since July 2013, during demonstrations, at home or during football matches.

Accordingly since 2011, Egypt has become the country of origin for the greatest percentage of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. In 2014, 50% of the Egyptians arriving irregularly in Italy were unaccompanied children. This upward trend continued in 2015, when 1.711 out of 2.610 Egyptians were minors (66%) (IOM 2016).
The Egyptian children arriving in Italy are generally between 14 and 17 years old and they come from very poor rural geographical areas (the Delta region and the Upper Egypt) where social mobility is very weak. Italy is often their destination of choice because of existing large and well-established communities of first and second generations of Egyptians in many Italian cities but also because of opportunities to receive additional and higher quality secondary education, and to acquire the Italian citizenship.
Through in-depth interviews conducted with Egyptian unaccompanied children in Naples, the paper aims:

  • to explore commonalities and differences between children’s life experiences in Egypt, before, during and after the 25th January 2011 revolution, and their new life in Italy;
  • to understand if revolutionary and counter-revolutionary events, socio-political and economic changes, and risks of violence (illegal arrests, torture, repression) for youth as well as for children in current Egypt are determinant causes which push those children to leave their country;
  • to consider the roles played by families, peers and their own decision-making capabilities;
  • to analyse if ‘being a teenager’ contributes to pursue the project to leave;
  • to redefine the notion of vulnerability of unaccompanied children, taking in account their direct life experiences, current life conditions, dreams and feelings.

Nota biográfica

Chiara Diana received her PhD in History at the CNRS-IREMAM, Aix-Marseille University (France) in 2015. Last August 2017, she was visiting research fellow at the ICS-ULisboa within the FMSH-ICS Atlas program. She collaborates with Dr. Francesco Vacchiano at the research project “Globally sensitive: revolt, citizenship and expectations for the future in North Africa” (ICS-ULisboa). In past, she taught at the Aix-Marseille University and the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris). In 2014, she was invited to give a lecture about Arab Uprisings, Activism, Childhood and Education, at the University of Illinois (USA). She has written articles and chapters about childhood, education, globalization, fieldwork methodology, Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. Her current research interests include childhood and youth in Arab countries and in diaspora, youth activism, revolutionary, post-revolutionary and conflict contexts in MENA region, Egyptian unaccompanied children in Europe, displaced Syrian refugee children, child protection and vulnerability.


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AZIMUTE – Estudos em Contextos Árabes e Islâmicos


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