Youmna al Hourani

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I was born and raised in Lebanon, where political stability and national identity are considered luxuries, and I have seen the importance of both politics and international relations for providing a safer future. I am currently completing my master’s in International Relations at NYU. My research focuses broadly on identity politics, sectarianism and social justice after the Arab Uprisings.

My interest in the Sunni-Shia divide led me to Parallel Histories. The Sunni-Shi’a divide will plague the region for years to come because both sects claim to have a monopoly on a perceived religious truth. Yet, using narrative analysis as an approach can help students reframe differences and advance the cause of peaceful coexistence. Narratives provide considerable insights into conflict situation and invaluable information about the understandings that disputants have concerning the nature of their conflict and driving motivations of each party. I have become a firm believer in the power of narratives in shaping the way each one of us perceive conflict.