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Education

The Challenge

Source: Waleed Nassar, Madeena360Few regions invest more in the education of their young than the Middle East. Over the past two decades, the region has greatly broadened access to education, a development which has supported almost universal school enrollment rates. Yet, in most countries in the region, the quality of education remains concerning and greater access to education has not led to greater economic opportunities for many of the region’s citizens. Early education is largely failing to provide youth under 15 years of age with critical life skills. This disadvantage is often compounded as students enter secondary and tertiary education, where students receive the diplomas required of public sector work, yet few skills needed by those seeking work in the private sector. With a shrinking public sector, unable to absorb the growing cohort of youth, today's graduates need to be equipped with a greater range of skills, a range yet to be comprehensively covered by the traditional educational systems of the region.

The Opportunity

Source: Curt Carnemark, 1992, World BankEducation systems across the Middle East and North Africa need to adapt to the challenges, as well as maximize the positive potentials, presented by the region’s demographic youth bulge. Underutilized due to their limited skills in an increasingly skills-driven economy, youth in the region need public and economic policies shaped for their needs, not in spite of them. MEYI’s research examines both the current policies of the region, those both effective and not, as well as provides innovative and data-driven policy recommendations ranging from incentive structures that encourage skills-development, to new approaches to youth inclusion in relevant policy-making, to stronger partnerships between the education systems of the region and business communities as way of better ensuring a productive link between the outputs of the education system, and the needs of the labor market.



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.



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.



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.



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.


Djavad Salehi-Isfahani Authors New Paper on Iranian Youth in Times of Economic Crisis

8 Oct 2010

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, MEYI nonresident senior fellow, has authored a new paper entitled “Iranian Youth in Times of Economic Crisis” (2010) as part of the Dubai Initiative Working Paper Series. Using survey data for 2007 and 2008, Salehi-Isfahani reviews the evidence on youth transitions in Iran to show how the recent economic crisis has affected youth transitions to employment and to marriage. He also shows how transitions differ by family background and by region of residence – rural and urban.



New Radio Program Features Interview with MEYI

15 Sep 2010
America Abroad Media has recently released its new radio program, Overlooked and Underpaid: Arab Youth in Today’s Economy. The hour-long program features a number of segments, including an interview with Samantha Constant. The program is the second of a three-part series that will explore the challenges confronting Arab youth today.


New Egypt Human Development Report Addresses The Role of Youth in Egypt's Future

7 Jul 2010

The 2010 Egypt Human Development Report (EHDR) has been released and focuses specifically on the importance of youth in Egypt's economic, social and political development. The report, "Youth in Egypt: Building our Future", features a chapter by MEYI nonresident senior fellow Ragui Assaad on human development and labor markets, which investigates transitions into employment for Egyptian youth as well as the skills gap between education and employment and the occupational outlook facing young people today.



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."


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.
Transitions to Employment and Marriage among Young Men in Egypt
18 Oct 2010, Ragui Assaad, Christine Binzel and May Gadallah

Ragui Assaad, Christine Binzel and May Gadallah share new findings on the transition to first jobs, job mobility, and the timing of marriage among young men in Egypt.

Youth Transitions to Employment and Marriage in Iran: Evidence from the School to Work Transition Survey
30 Jun 2010, Daniel Egel and Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
Daniel Egel and Djavad Salehi-Isfahani examine the factors that affect youth transitions to adulthood in Iran, using retrospective data to connect individual outcomes in the education system and labor and marriage markets.
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.

World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa
October 26 - 28, 2010
Marrakech, Morocco
The 2010 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will take place on 26-28 October in Marrakech, in partnership with the Government of Morocco. Under the theme "Purpose, Resilience and Prosperity", the meeting will gather the foremost leaders from business, government and civil society to renew the region’s growth and development strategies in the context of pressing global risks, including oil price volatility, water scarcity and migration.
9th International Conference of the Middle East Economic Association
June 24 - 26, 2010
Istanbul, Turkey
The 9th International Conference of the Middle East Economic Association (MEEA) will be held at the Faculty of Management of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Istanbul, Turkey.