Intimate migration decisions: Migration strategies and gender among Palestinian youth

Dana Awwad

Authors:  Dana Awwad

Faculty Mentor: Romeyn Esther

College:  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


One of the responses to the political repressions and its economic repercussions in Gaza and the West Bank is the outmigration of Palestinian youth, particularly the wealthier sections of the population. This loss of human capital, also called “Brain Drain”, is seen as depriving the Palestinian region of financial, economic and human resources that otherwise would have contributed to its development. Nevertheless, remittances sent home by expatriate Palestinians demonstrate an important source of financial security and many returnees reinvest in the financial and economic infrastructure of the country. This research focuses on the gender dynamics and family strategies that are often invisible in this area’s literature. Migration of Palestinian youth is often part of a familial decision and the structure of expectations and desired outcomes of these decisions is thoroughly gendered. Even though women tend to have higher educational and literacy rates, the expectation is that they would not plan their futures away from family, even when they are permitted to pursue an education abroad. This research explores the norms and values defining the parameters of independence Palestinian women face when imagining their futures.

Poster Pitch

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11 Responses
  1. Elisabeth Rios-Brooks

    Hi Dana,

    Thank you so much for the research you are conducting – it is powerful and illuminating. I am wondering if in your literature review you came across the “brain drain” in other locations (across Africa, like Nigeria)? Also have you considered comparing what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank with North Africa in regard to the “brain drain”?

    1. Dana

      Hello Elisabeth!
      Thank you for your great feedback and I, indeed, came across the brain drain concept in Africa but chose to limit my research to Palestine due to the lack of literature on the subject. I also only had the opportunity to interview Palestinians so I ended up exploring more of and sticking to what I have. Great question!

  2. William Zelin

    This is such an important topic to study! Thank you for shedding light on this intersectional issue. I hope that you are able to continue conducting your research and enlightening more people on the multitude of challenges that the Palestinian people are facing.

  3. Pranav Chinmay

    Hi Dana,

    This is really interesting. Most of us have a difficult relationship with brain drain, so we tend to avoid thinking about it. But your poster and video are making me think about it! Thanks.


  4. Esther Romeyn

    Hi Dana, what a fantastic job!!! Your research is so important! Great presentation and poster!

  5. Hello Dana, you tackled it really tough topic! You did a great job of explaining your research. It was very surprising to me to hear that even though Palestinian women, on average, hold higher education and literacy rates that they are still unable to pursue opportunities, just because of societal/family pressures. Additionally, I liked the scenery in your presentation, it really set a serious tone for a serious topic! Great job!