Transnational Histories of Palestinian Youth Organizing in the United States
transnational movements
youth movements
Oslo accords

This article explores the transnational histories that have conditioned Palestinian youth organizing in the United States from the 1950s to the present day. It examines the organizational vehicles of earlier generations of activists such as the Organization of Arab Students (OAS) and the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) to trace the formation of the U.S. chapter of the transnational Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM). It argues that in the Oslo and post-Oslo eras, which severed the Palestinian diaspora from the national body politic and the rich Palestinian organizational histories of the pre-1993 period, the lessons of their forerunners are instructive for PYM’s new generation of organizers. The article posits that transnational connections have profound implications for localized U.S. political organizing and that contemporary Palestinian youth organizing is part of a historical continuum. Drawing on oral history and scholar-activist ethnographic methods, the article situates contemporary youth organizing in its transnational and historical contexts.

Author biography: 

Loubna Qutami is an assistant professor in the department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Qutami is PYM’s former international general coordinator and also a former executive director of San Francisco’s Arab Cultural and Community Center.