The Idea Factory is a student-led initiative at Birzeit University designed to facilitate answers to one central question: “how can the youth shape their own future?” Participants gather to think, discuss, and produce alternatives for the exclusion and marginalization that they encounter in their daily lives and that has resulted in alienation and apathy.
Participants brainstorm in an inclusive, academic environment that respects all points of view and encourages pluralism and diversity in all facets. They address various subjects that can be characterized as political, economical and/or social. The colonial condition inevitably is embedded in most of these subjects.
Participants invite speakers and visit sites of interest to shed light on their dialogues and issues of interest for their debates.
Examples of topics addressed include: the quality of education from primary to higher education; the relationship between knowledge and social structures; environmental issues such as alternative energy; social and political organization; and, the nature of student movements in Palestine.
After these brainstorming sessions, students write position papers on topics of their choosing. These papers are then presented at a conference that includes guests from the university and the larger community.
Ultimately, youth use their perspectives to create new means of participation within the public sphere and propose alternative solutions to identified problems.
The Idea Factory represents one way in which Birzeit University is playing a pioneering role in the society.