The Training to Engaged Research Group (TERG), in collaboration with the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS), held the first seminar in the two-year training in engaged transformative gender research on February 23-25, 2018 in Amman, Jordan.
The seminar brought together 25 participants from 9 Arab countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Bahrain), who were selected for the program after an open call for applications.
Participants were master's and doctoral students, junior faculty members and activists spanning the disciplines of sociology, economics, linguistics, political science, urban studies, and education.
The seminar was led by Dr. Suad Joseph
, Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of California, Davis; Dr. Lena Meari
, Assistant Professor at the Social and Behavioral Science and the Institute of Women’s Studies at Birzeit University; and Dr. Zeina Zaatari
, Research Director at the Boston-based Political Research Associates
Over the three-day period, participants engaged in sessions on proposal writing and research design, and topics related to gender violence, and drafted proposals related to their individual research.
"I thought that the workshop was extremely useful for my professional development and making me believe that I can come up with useful theories in understanding a certain phenomenon," said one participant.
The workshop was an intensive experience, in which participants refined their topics, listened to lectures, and engaged with the trainers as they continued to develop their research proposals and projects.
"It was a fantastic experience,” said another participant. “I feel very motivated by the instructors and colleagues. The energy, the ideas, and the support are amazing. Everything will be very useful to me in my career, in my research, and on the personal level."
The training program, which focuses on gender violence, aims to help participants to design and execute action and policy-oriented research in and for their localities – research which has the potential to problem-solve realities on the ground; training which fosters the social engagement of junior scholars of gender and mentors them for evidence-based leadership and planning. The goal is to train scholars to carry out research that is socially useful. The project supports Arab universities in becoming sites of leadership for social change.
"In my fast-paced research work, I don't have a lot of opportunities to reflect on the research process and re-learn certain things,” said a third participant. “My (short) accumulated experience in research allowed me to absorb more of the teaching. A few years ago, I wouldn't have understood things so well. The workshop not only taught me to think or write differently, but also to read more analytically."
Participants will work over a period of two years with their TERG mentors to refine and develop their research proposals in order to be able to present publishable articles based on their work or a fundable research project. They will also be eligible to submit their proposals to be reviewed by the training team for the possibility of getting seed grants to carry out their research.
The second seminar, which will revolve around qualitative data collection, is set to take place in the Fall of 2018.
In addition to Dr. Suad Joseph, Dr. Lena Meari, and Dr. Zeina Zaatari, the Training to Engaged Research Group includes Dr. Nadine Naber
, Associate Professor in the Gender and Women's Studies Program and the Global Asian Studies Program, who also holds an affiliation with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).