Advisor(s)

Denis Joseph Sullivan

Contributor(s)

Joan Fitzgerald, Glenn Pierce

Date of Award

9-2011

Date Accepted

9-2011

Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department or Academic Unit

College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Law and Public Policy.

Keywords

democracy, human rights, Palestine, survey, values, youth

Disciplines

Human Rights Law | Public Policy

Abstract

The aim of this study is to conduct an exploratory baseline survey of West Bank students to assess student attitudes and practices towards Human Rights and Democracy (HDR). To achieve the goal of this research, a survey of 3450 youth was conducted that included students from the 8th, 10th and 12th grades throughout the West Bank. The specific research goals of the study was to first assess the overall importance of HRD to West Bank youth, and examine whether the value students placed on HRD varied according to demographic and socio-economic background factors. The second research goal of the study was to assess the individual and contextual factors that influence the value Palestinian youth place on HRD, including the influence of the HDR practices of their peers, family, or their school, and a student's knowledge of HRD concepts. The research finally examined how the potential influence of individual and contextual factors on the importance of HRD to West Bank youth was moderated by a student's age and gender.

The findings of this study show that the contribution of the socio-demographic variable to the importance of HRD to students is very modest but statistically significant. Girls and students from lower income families placed slightly less value on HRD, while students born in the West Bank placed a slightly higher value on HRD. The research found that family and peer influence are important determinants of the importance of HRD to Palestinian youth, but that these influences are somewhat less important among older youth. The study also shows that knowledge of HRD is the most important predictor of the value West Bank youth place on HRD. An important negative finding of this study is that the school practices and support for HRD showed no influence on the value the youth placed on HRD. This last finding is a potential area of concern for policy makers.

This research and its analysis of the value of human rights and the knowledge and awareness of those rights among the Palestinian people in the West Bank suggest two agendas for further action. This research suggests at least two policy agendas that could significantly affect the importance of human rights and democracy in Palestine. These include, 1) developing more effective school based programs to develop greater knowledge of HRD among Palestinian youth; and 2) further empowering the Palestinian family as a source of support for human rights principles.

Document Type

Dissertation

Rights Holder

Imad Fayeq Abukishek

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