Celebrated author, lawyer, community activist and alumni Jamil Jivani has just released his new book, Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity.
Jivani recognized that many of the radicalized individuals who carried out the 2015 Paris terror attacks had much in common with his own past: the communities they grew up in and the challenges they faced mirrored the circumstances of his own life. Wanting to gain further insight, he lived in Belgium, in the same community that later became known as the very breeding ground for the perpetrators of the Brussels terror attacks in 2016, only a couple of months after his stay.
Raised in a mostly immigrant community in Toronto that faced significant problems with integration, and having grown up with a largely absent father, Jivani knows what it is to watch a man’s future influenced by gangster culture or radical ideologies. Reaching a crossroads himself, he realized he could choose a path towards radicalism and crime, or to a safer, more prosperous future. Opting for the latter, he graduated from York's International Development Studies program, then from Yale law, became a lawyer, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, a community activist and a compelling voice for the disenfranchised.
Publisher Harper Collins says "Why Young Men is not a memoir but a book of ideas that pursues a positive path and offers a counterintuitive, often provocative argument for a sea change in the way we look at young men, and for how they see themselves."
Jivani faces a startling new challenge: recently being diagnosed with stage-4 non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he is currently undergoing rigorous treatment just as his book is being released. He describes this in his very candid blog post in Medium. His health is also covered in the Toronto Star and in this short clip on the CBC.
Watch a video of Jivani on how he was affected by one single course, below.