A discussion session organized by QatarDebate and DIFI: Youth marriage between modernity and tradition.
Doha – QatarDebate Center
QatarDebate Center – a member of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development – held a discussion session, in cooperation with Doha International Family Institute, to discuss the views of youth on marriage and its challenges, in the presence of Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi, Executive Director of the DIFI, and Dr. Hayat Abdullah Maarafi, Executive Director of the QatarDebate Center, in addition to a generous audience and participants via online platforms. The seminar was on the evening of Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at the headquarters of the QatarDebate Center in the Education City.
This discussion session comes within the preparatory workshops that are held in cooperation with different parties and aims to present the views of young people and the challenges they face upon marriage. The participants discussed two main topics. The first one deals with the economic and social factors in marriage formation while the second one focuses on the impact of social media on marital relations.
The discussion panel which was moderated by Ms. Nadia Darwish – from QatarDebate Center – began with a word from Dr. Sharifa Al Emadi – in which she explained that DIFI is about to organize the third international conference on the topic of “Marriage: Formation and Constituents of Stability”. It will provide a platform for researchers, policymakers, specialists and youth to discuss the issue of marriage in public and all factors related to marriage and family.
Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi added: “DIFI and QatarDebate Center share a common interest in the youth group, as they are the most vulnerable when interacting with societal changes. For this, they deserve more attention to invest their capabilities and talents in establishing the pillars for a better future, which strengthens their connectivity to community issues, especially marriage and its challenges.
Dr. Al-Emadi pointed out that the orientation of this discussion session is to give a voice to the youth in the Arab region and then to bring these views closer to the views of other societies. The results will be presented during the international conference that will be held in February 2021 (Morocco, Jordan and Qatar), which aims to hear out the voices of young people in the Arab world and what they think about marriage.
The panelists and their opinions
Ms. Buthaina Mohammad Alkuwari – Master of Human Rights Law – participated in the seminar. A Faculty Member at Qatar University, College of Law and a Researcher in the field of Human Rights.
Ms. Abdul Wahed, a graduate of Cornell University from New York who also has a Master of Arts in Women Studies and Community Development from Hamad bin Khalifa University. A nutritionist at Qatar Foundation who is interested in humanitarian issues and women’s rights.
Ms. Maryam Nazih Ibrahim – BA in Politics, Planning and Development / Media – Qatar University. A judge and a graduate of the Elite Academy from the QatarDebate Center.
Abdullah Jassim Al-Kubaisi – a student at Omar bin Al-Khattab High School and one of the members of Annabi Debates. Passionate about the field of media, has a podcast and works on a series of monthly discussions in social fields.
Mr. Anas Mohammad Rasras – Master of Sustainable Energy from Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Founder and Director of Business Development and works in the private sector in the e-commerce field.
Most of the opinions of the interlocutors and participants were in harmony, that social, economic and cultural transformations have created a state of relative disruption in the willingness for marriage or the so-called reluctance or delay of marriage. Among the many reasons were the high costs of marriage and living and the fact that some luxury goods in home furnishing turned into basic commodities, which are being bought ostentatiously, exceeding the consumption limit. Concomitantly, the high cost of dowries and the emergence of new wedding rituals that are exaggerated and unnecessary were strong factors.
Most of the participants’ opinions were also converged on the role of social pressures and obstacles represented in restricting the process of choosing a partner and the discrepancies between young people living with modernity and a society following traditions, which often conflict with the culture of youth and ultimately lead to delaying marriage.
The impact of social media on marriage had an ample part of the debate. Some viewed it as a modern means of communication that entered all aspects of our lives, including choosing a life partner; although it is not the best way, it has become a part of our reality. Others, however, see it as a virtual world that should be dealt with cautiously, in case one had to rely on these methods in choosing a partner.
The most important outcomes of the discussion session
The need to raise awareness among young people on how to deal with social media and to set sound rules that ensure that people do not fall into the net of social deception.
The question on many of the young people’s minds is “which is better, traditional marriage or online marriage?” Most people unanimously agreed that a marriage that does not conflict with religion and norms and which provides young people with ample space for personal freedom in making decisions to choose a partner, whatever the method, will be a successful marriage in establishing a family.
There were also discussions about the impact of Corona in delaying marriage due to precautionary measures, and opinions varied between those who consider the youth wedding party a dream for the newlyweds and prefers to delay marriage for later rather than lose the pleasure of forever-remembered moments and between those who consider the completion of the marriage more important than the costs and its consequences.
The participants unanimously agreed that health care, under the guidance of the state and with the provision of follow-up and medical advice before and during the Corona crisis, greatly helps in enhancing the confidence of young people and the willingness to get into relationships and form a healthy family.