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Civic Participation

The Challenge

Source: Waleed Nassar, Madeena360Despite 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.

The Opportunity

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.



Countries in Focus: Ongoing Coverage of the Uprisings in the Region

7 Jun 2011

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.



The possible economic effects of Obama's Middle East speech

19 May 2011

In anticipation of President Obama's 19 May speech on the Middle East, Tarik Yousef comments on the importance of economic investment and assistance in the region. This interview was originally published by NPR and is reposted here.



Long tedious process towards reforms

23 Mar 2011

Paul Dyer provides insight into the findings of the 2010 Arab Youth Survey. This article was originally published by Gulf News and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Democracy is a top priority

16 Mar 2011

Taufiq Rahim discusses the results of the 2010 Arab Youth Survey. This article was originally published by 7Days and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Mideast 'baby boomers': Shock troops of protests

1 Mar 2011

Tarik Yousef and Ragui Assaad analyze the impact of Middle Eastern 'baby boomers' on the region's current unrest. This article was originally published by MSNBC and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



A Younger Generation Speaks to Power

11 Feb 2011

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.



Egypt's Youth in Revolt

9 Feb 2011

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.



Despite Market Fears, Regional Investors See Opportunities Beyond the Turmoil

8 Feb 2011

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.



Empty Pockets Stoked Discontent in Egypt, Tunisia

1 Feb 2011

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.



Mubarak's Grip on Power Is Shaken

31 Jan 2011

Ragui Assaad analyzes the impact of protests on Egypt's economy. This article was originally printed in The New York Times and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



How Will Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution Affect the Arab World?

24 Jan 2011
Ragui Assaad reflects on what the recent historic events in Tunisia mean for youth in Tunisia, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. This commentary was originally published by the Brookings Institution here.


Experts Convene in Damascus to Review Policy Priorities for Middle East Youth

16 Jun 2010
Experts from the Middle East Youth Initiative network and partners met on June 13 and 14 to identify new priorities in youth research and policy in the Middle East. The meeting was hosted by the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, the Dubai School of Government, and the Development Research Centre at the Syria Trust for Development.


New Interactive Map: Taking Stock of the Youth Challenge in the Middle East

15 Jun 2010
The Middle East Youth Initiative has released a new online interactive map with key statistics on youth-related issues for all 18 Middle East countries, based on analysis by Samantha Constant and Mary Kraetsch. The map includes key statistics related to each country’s economy, demographics, education and youth employment status.


AmCham-Middle East Youth Initiative Meeting in Cairo Explores Partnerships for Social Innovation

11 Jun 2010
Ehaab Abdou and Samantha Constant participated in a roundtable entitled “Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Egypt: Building Stronger Public-Private Partnerships for the Next Generation” hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, in cooperation with the Middle East Youth Initiative, on June 9 in Cairo.


Dubai Initiative Conference at Harvard Features MEYI Scholars

6 May 2010
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Edward Sayre, Christine Binzel and Daniel Egel participated in a youth-focused panel at the 2010 Dubai Initiative Conference at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.


Presidential Summit Wrap-Up: Middle East Youth Initiative Research Featured at Summit and Brookings Launch Event

28 Apr 2010
The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship was held in Washington, D.C. on April 26 and 27. In her closing remarks, Secretary Clinton highlighted the new Middle East Youth Initiative-Silatech report: "Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East: Toward Sustainable Development for the Next Generation."


Ehaab Abdou Speaks at Harvard on His Experience as a Social Entrepreneur

2 Dec 2009
On November 30, MEYI advisor Ehaab Abdou spoke to an audience at Harvard University's Dubai Initiative, a joint venture between the Dubai School of Government and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, about his experience as a leading social innovator in the Middle East as well as his new research with the Middle East Youth Initiative.


Social Entrepreneurship Roundtables in the Middle East

18 Nov 2009
Through consultations rch on the ground, MEYI is working to better understand the state of social entrepreneurship and social investment in the Middle East. Under the leadership of Ehaab Abdou, MEYI has led a series of diverse focus groups in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan to survey the existing landscape for social entrepreneurs and investors and identify the key opportunities and challenges they face.
Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East: Toward Sustainable Development for the Next Generation
22 Apr 2010, Ehaab Abdou, Amina Fahmy, Diana Greenwald and Jane Nelson

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
25 Jan 2010, Edward Sayre and Samia Al-Botmeh

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.

Youth Exclusion in Yemen: Tackling the Twin Deficits of Human Development and Natural Resources
5 Jan 2010, Ragui Assaad, Ghada Barsoum, Emily Cupito and Daniel Egel

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
8 Oct 2009, Edited by Navtej Dhillon and Tarik Yousef

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.

Stalled Youth Transitions in the Middle East: A Framework for Policy Reform
8 Oct 2008, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Navtej Dhillon

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.

Social Exclusion: Comparative Analysis of Europe and Middle East Youth
12 Dec 2007, Hilary Silver
It is the intersection of youth with other dimensions of disadvantage that makes social exclusion a useful framework for analysis.
Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship
March 30 - April 1, 2011
Oxford, United Kingdom
The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship accelerates the impact of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage and large scale social change. Applications for the 2011 Skoll World Forum are now being considered.
TEDxYSE (Youth Social Entrepreneurship)
13 November 2010
Washington, D.C., United States
TEDxYSE (Youth Social Entrepreneurship) is an event organized by Ashoka’s Youth Venture to give the world’s most inspiring young social entrepreneurs a global platform to share their powerful stories. The first TEDxYSE, to be held on November 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C., will feature the winners of the 2010 Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
November 15 - 21, 2010
Global, Global
From November 15-21, 2010, Global Entrepreneurship Week will connect young people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Students, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, non-profit leaders, government officials and many others will participate in a range of activities, from online to face-to-face, and from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings.
9th Global Conference on International Youth Service
October 25 - 28, 2010
Alexandria, Egypt
The International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS) is pleased to announce the 9th Global Conference on National Youth Service, organized in partnership with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy & Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), the IANYS permanent Secretariat.