Empowering Democratic Citizenship through Education

Exploring Rights-Based Approaches to Educational Policymaking in Kuwait

Principal Investigators: Dr Sam Mejias and Dr Rania Al-Nakib
Duration: September 2019–December 2021

Kuwait schoolchildren

Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

In 2006, Kuwait became the first country in the Gulf region to add an explicit human rights component to its national curriculum. One of the most politically democratic Gulf states, Kuwait aspires to create through formal education a ‘knowledge economy’ built on the recognition, agency and action of its citizens. This project explores how schools in Kuwait teach about citizenship, gauging teacher and student perspectives on school life, and on discourses of rights and democratic citizenship they encounter in Kuwaiti media and society.

Using focus group, surveys, media content analysis and critical discourse analysis, the project explores the tensions and challenges of 21st century citizenship identity and practice formation in Kuwait, attempting to understand how schools as sites of citizenship formation reflect, resist or assimilate different and sometimes competing conceptions of citizenship across Kuwaiti society. Contrasting the experiences of young people and adults in schools with analyses of contemporary media discourses on citizenship in Kuwait, the project will generate new understandings of how pedagogy and mediated discourses influence young people’s civic perspectives and identities. The study intends to generate an evidence base to inform policymaking for a renewed form of citizenship education that will aid the Kuwaiti agenda to be a more democratic, knowledge-based society.



Principal Investigators


Dr Sam Mejias

Sam is a Research Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE.

Al-Nakib, Rania

Dr Rania Al-Nakib

Rania is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait.


Khazbak, Rana

Rana Khazbak

Rana is a Research Assistant on the project.

Baghdadi, Jad

Jad Baghdadi

Jad is a Research Assistant on the project.

Al-Khonaini, Abdullah

Abdullah al-Khonaini

Abdullah is a Research Assistant on the project.

Abudyak, Amna 200x200

Amna Abudyak

Amna is a Research Assistant on the project.