Global Citizenship in Kuwait: Perspectives and Obstacles

Global citizenship is the umbrella term for social, political, environmental, and economic actions of globally minded individuals and communities on a worldwide scale. It has gained popularity as one of the United Nation’s goals for human dignity, empowerment, and for positive change in societies. Global citizenship attempts to cross over between different groups of people, surpassing separatist categories that continue to exclude people within societies. Global citizenship aims to create more ethical, tolerant, and anti-racist youth cultures, gender equity, and disability inclusion.

Given the necessity of global citizenship today, this GSC research project aims to answer the question:

  • What does it mean to be a global citizen today in Kuwait and in the Gulf and how can it be achieved?
  • What are the roots of exclusion and how are these phenomena manifest in Gulf societies?
  • How can policy-makers, educators, and researchers contribute to the creation and empowerment of global citizens in Kuwait?

The research project involves specialists in politics, education, culture, and media. Furthermore, researchers, administrators, activists, and non-profit organizations collaborate.


  • Identity politics and belonging
  • Racial politics in Kuwait and the GCC
  • The situation of migrant and domestic workers
  • Gender inequalities, barriers to women’s inclusion at the workplace, women’s empowerment
  • ‘Wokeism’ in Middle Eastern Cultures. This topic is covered by some contributors to the “Woke Conference,” especially Nesma Elsakaan and Jibril Latif.
  • Inclusion in schools, anti-bullying, and tolerance
  • Disability and Education. Shahd Alshammari’s research revolves around the representation of illness in society, literature, and narratives. She works on Disability Studies, women’s narratives, and women’s representation in Gulf media. She is also a published author with the first book on illness in the Gulf (Notes on the Flesh, 2017). She is currently researching Kuwaiti Television Series in the 1980’s. She is also looking at bookstore and readership culture in Kuwait.
  • Slavery in the Gulf, research covered by GSC members in cooperation with Dr. Nesma Elsakaan and her research group from the University of Palermo.
  • Attitudes towards minorities in the Gulf covered by Lisa Blaydes (Stanford University)

The research is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by UNESCO. Within the framework of “SDG4 on Global Citizenship Education” and “UNESCO for the Gulf States and Yemen” the goal is to empower Students through Global Citizenship Education.

Expected Outcomes

  • The project might reveal some problematic issues concerning Global Citizenship in Kuwait
  • It might help in creating and developing strategies to reduce or eliminate issues related to racism that can be dealt with in a white paper to be submitted by GUST to the supreme council of planning.

External Parties

  • Prof. Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University
  • Dr Nesma Elsakaan, Palermo University
  • UNSECO regional Office
  • UNDP – Kuwait
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Communication
  • Supreme Council of Planning
  • Guest speakers from Kuwait University
  • NGOs such as Human Right Association in Kuwait
  • KFAS and other funders such as KFH


Global Intellectual / Cultural / Social / Economic / Political Networks and Exchange

This cluster is focused on the complex array of social, intellectual and economic forces that connect societies across political, religious, geographic, ethnic and cultural boundaries across time. Specific topics include but limited to:

  • Transfer of knowledge
  • Decoloniality of knowledge
  • Islamic Intellectual Discourse
  • Colonial Discourse
  • Diaspora broadly defined
  • Identities (national identity, social identity, gender identity)

Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, Ismail Lala, Angela Gonzales Echeverry, as well as external participants Jibril Latif and Nesma Elsakaan have been working on the phenomenon of “woke” in global contexts. It lead to our conference on Wokeness and to the forthcoming publication “Tracking Global Wokeism”. This concerns the topics of social identity, gender identity, and decoloniality.

Manal El-Kady’s research focuses on the intersection of history, politics and literature in 19th Century France. She studies the shaping of identities (national, social and gender) through school textbooks and children's literature, the revolutionary movements in the 19th Century, the French nationalism in 19th and 20th Centuries and the colonial novels. I am also interested in the French cultural influence in Egypt during the 19th and 20th Centuries and the narratives of exile of the Egyptian diaspora.


The Ethics of Technology

Dr Mehrunisha is Director of Medical Ethics and Law Education at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford. She is a medically trained bioethicist and public health researcher, whose research experience spans healthcare systems analysis to empirical ethics evaluation. Her research interests intersect global health research ethics and clinical ethics particularly where religious and cultural views and values of patients, clinicians and researchers are pertinent. She has extensive outreach and engagement experience, including working with minority groups and diverse sectors across the UK and globally.