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Dr. Kristine Ajrouch on "Building Civil Society through the Study of Aging"
Dr. Kristine Ajrouch on "Building Civil Society through the Study of Aging"

Beirut, April 8, 2008- On March 27, 2008, Dr Kristine Ajrouch, Associate Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University, and visiting Fulbright scholar from the USA, delivered a lecture entitled "Building Civil Society through the Study of Aging" at the Cultural Hour in the Haigazian University Auditorium.

Dr. Ajrouch is currently teaching in the Department of Sociology at Haigazian University, and was introduced to the audience by Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Ekmekji defined "Civil Society", as "the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state and commercial institutions."

Dr. Ajrouch began her lecture by explaining the importance of studying the latter part of the life course, i.e., old age, in order to understand societies.
Ajrouch introduced the concepts of Aging and Civil Society Building, in addition to providing a demographic overview of the case of Lebanon. Ajrouch presented data indicating that Lebanon will become a beanpole society, i.e., the rapid growth of the older population is leading to a situation where the proportion of the young will equal the proportion of older members in society.

She also tackled the issue of developmental changes in the latter part of life by highlighting gains that come with growing older as well as potential losses. She then spoke to the importance of social relations as a useful framework for linking aging to the goal of civil society building.
Ajrouch concluded her lecture by suggesting that aging should be viewed as a life long process and that older people may be considered a resource, still providing critical input to their families and communities. In this respect, older adults can contribute to building and enhancing societies. Governments should be planning to capitalize on the strengths as well as challenges that come with having an older population for today and the future.

Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director

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