A wide cross-section of Middle Eastern experts, including representatives from government, multilateral institutions, civil society, media, academia and the literary world, have called upon decision-makers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to heed the call to action of Arab youth and build a better future, following launch of the 13th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey on Tuesday.
Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, said, “The data reflected in the survey indicates a shift is pulsating within the region; one that bends toward a more hopeful outlook for our youth, yet confirms a series of profound changes currently underway. A rising spirit of nationalism is gaining resonance for Arab youth. This generation is increasingly looking inward at their Arab brethren for leadership. A growing self-reliance on ourselves, especially model Arab nations like the UAE, is fuelling this pride.
“As the UAE celebrates the Expo 2020 Dubai and marks the Golden Jubilee of our nation’s formation in December, we feel hope for the future, which coincidentally is the title of this year’s Arab Youth Survey.”
Dr. Jihad Azour, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, Washington D.C., said, “To achieve the aspirations of Arab youth, we must increase financial inclusion, providing our young Arab entrepreneurs ready access to affordable finance. They must have a level playing field, where red tape and the interference of the state in economic management is kept to a minimum. And we need a new, citizen-based social contract.”
Veteran Saudi editor Khaled Almaeena said these findings offer a refreshing insight into the mindset of young Arabs.
“These findings are an opportunity for those in power to pinpoint their priorities,” added Faisal Al Yafai, Journalist and Partner at Hildebrand Nord in the UK.
Dania Khaled Al Maeena, CEO of Aloula Non-Profit Organisation, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, commented, “We must bridge the gap between the education sector and the needs of the workplace. This will involve creating new skill sets to ensure our youth are prepared for the new economy.”
Afshin Molavi, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C., said, “Arab youth are also a pragmatic generation, with energy and vision and creativity.”
Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, opined, “The UAE has established a particularly strong ‘brand’ among Arab youth; this suggests that its model of diversity and tolerance has a good chance of influencing the social and cultural development of other Arab societies over time.”