Despite wide-spread misconceptions, the majority of youth in the Middle East, if given the chance, are more interested in contributing to their society and future than being involved in extreme behavior. Young men and women in the region are expecting to exert greater influence in shaping their societies. Yet there are too few formal avenues and institutions for youth to expand their voice so that their activism may positively impact their societies. The challenge remains with Middle East countries to provide an enabling environment for young people to give voice and actively participate in economic, political and social affairs.
Young people are at the heart of a process of political change and debate that now defines the region. They are emerging as agents of change in some countries which are moving towards more participatory forms of government. Through the expansion of civil society and the rise of local social and environmental movements, young men and women can be mobilized to exert greater influence in shaping their societies positively.
Experts from the Middle East Youth Initiative are producing ongoing analysis of political and economic developments and the youth populations in these countries. Articles published in internationally recognized media and featuring analysis from Middle East Youth Initiative experts are posted in the "Latest News" section.
Following Hosni Mubarak's much-anticipated speech on Thursday, 10 February 2011--in which he reaffirmed his determination to remain in office until September, despite popular expectations that he would resign--Edward Sayre talks about the demands of Egyptian youth for economic opportunity and social inclusion. This audio discussion originally aired on The Takeaway and is reposted here. The views expressed in this piece are those of the published author.
Tarik Yousef discusses the disconnect between Egyptian youth and the ruling elites, highlighting the very real possibility that Egyptian civil society will 'thrive' in a future, democratic state. This article was originally published by The Takeaway and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.
Paul Dyer considers the need for innovative, creative reforms to harness the economic potential and entrepreneurial creativity of Middle Eastern youth. This article was originally published by Knowledge@Wharton and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.
Tarik Yousef discusses how Egypt and other Arab states' preoccupation with security issues over the last decade drove the debate about economics and politics 'out of the halls of government and into the streets.' This story originally aired on NPR's All Things Considered and is reposted here. The views expressed in this story are those of the published author.
Presidential Summit Wrap-Up: Middle East Youth Initiative Research Featured at Summit and Brookings Launch Event
Ehaab Abdou, Amina Fahmy, Diana Greenwald and Jane Nelson propose recommendations to facilitate the development of institutional alliances that need to take place in order to capitalize on social entrepreneurship, boost economic opportunities for young people in the Middle East, and prepare the region become more fully integrated into a rapidly changing global economy.
Youth Exclusion in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: The Impact of Social, Economic and Political Forces
Edward Sayre and Samia Al-Botmeh examine three dimensions of the transition to adulthood by Palestinian youth: acquiring skills through schooling and training, finding employment, and forming a family.
Ragui Assaad, Ghada Barsoum, Emily Cupito and Daniel Egel present a comprehensive overview of youth exclusion in Yemen.
Generation in Waiting: The Unfulfilled Promise of Young People in the Middle East (Brookings Press, 2009), edited by Navtej Dhillon and Tarik Yousef, represents three years of research on youth exclusion in the Middle East.
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Navtej Dhillon present a framework for policymakers to improve youth outcomes by addressing institutional distortions across sectors: from the education system to the employment, housing, and credit markets.