FORUM: Future Citizens Series

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Future Citizens Series

Editor’s Statement

On behalf of the editorial team at Democracy Seminar, I am thrilled to announce the beginning of a new series of posts written by current high school and undergraduate students whose personal backgrounds and academic interests make clear that global politics is local politics and local politics always have a global dimension. We begin with two articles that reflect on the current and ongoing crisis in Israel/Palestine from radically different, yet not “opposed,” perspectives. 

In the first, Ayat Odeh, a Palestinian-American student at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, majoring in International Studies on a pre-law track, reflects on how the global groundswell of solidaristic responses to the plight of Palestinians living in Gaza during Israel’s response to the October 7th attacks leads her to conclude that “after a century, the liberation of my people feels possible, no longer an unrealistic idea.” In the second, Natali Sarraf, an Israeli-American senior at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Indiana, reflects on the ways that the Nation-State Law has contributed to “the disintegration of democracy in Israel” and why the prospect of preserving Israel’s democratic credentials are contingent on resisting “the attacks on the balance of power in the Israeli political system advanced by the current governing coalition both before the war began and since.”

These two pieces demonstrate the features of the space we are hoping to build here: first, that whatever our citizenship status, our identities are never singular and not strictly national; second, that while our views of the political reality of the moment might radically differ, we need to encounter those differences with openness and humility; third, that in order to keep open the prospect of a better and more just and democratic future we need to improve our knowledge of the past and how it informs the present. I very much hope that you begin this journey with Ayat and Natali and all of us at the Future Citizens series of the  Democracy Seminar.


— Michael Weinman, Senior Lecturer of Political Science and Jewish Studies; Affiliate, Study of Global Change; Indiana University, Bloomington