To promote the social and economic inclusion of young people in the Middle East
Demographic transitions across the Middle East and North Africa have led to an unprecedented “youth bulge” in the region, with nearly 30 percent of the region’s population now between the ages of 15 and 29. In making the transition to adulthood, these youth (shabab) have struggled with social and economic exclusion, facing poor outcomes and institutional barriers as they move from school to work and from work to family formation.While the Arab Spring gave voice to the frustrations inherent in such exclusion, the movement's aspirations for inclusion have given way to continued political instability and economic hardship. Youth, despite being active drivers of change in the region, continue to struggle to secure social and economic inclusion in their communities.
What We Do
The Middle East Youth Initiative (MEYI) represents an active, international network of researchers working together to improve outcomes for the region’s youth. It serves as a hub of knowledge and ideas, providing research aimed at informing and enabling effective policymaking and program development focused on youth social and economic inclusion across the Middle East and North Africa.
To this end, the Initiative seeks to enhance our collective understanding of the socio-economic constraints facing young people in the region and to identify ways in which policy and programs can best respond to the changing needs of youth as they transition to adulthood. Moreover, the Initiative translates research into action through strategic relationships with policymakers, youth-serving organizations and the private sector. Together, we build on research findings to advance a positive agenda for youth inclusion in the region. With the right policies and an enabling environment, these shabab can be a source of regional economic prosperity and positive social change.
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 the impact of rising food prices and economic challenges on youth frustrations in the Middle East, and the potential for these issues to fuel further protests throughout the region. This audio show originally aired on The Takeaway and is reposted here. The views expressed in this piece are those of the published author.
Ragui Assaad analyses the mounting economic consequences Egypt faces 'the longer President Hosni Mubarak refuses to resign in spite of demands by protesters to step down from power. This article was originally published by ABC News 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.
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.