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Middle East
Startup Rising: The Middle East’s New Generation of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Interview with author Christopher Schroeder

Against a backdrop of political uncertainty and the recent instability in places like Gaza, Syria, and Iraq, another revolution is quietly shaping the future of the Middle East. The global proliferation of mobile technology has brought with it a historic opportunity to improve access, accountability, and services for large swaths of the population. Nowhere is its transformative power greater than in the Middle East. In his latest book, author Christopher Schroeder tells the story of a new generation of young entrepreneurs, frustrated by broken systems, who are channeling their energy into creative enterprise through technology. In doing so, they are determined to carve out a new golden age of invention and social innovation.

Israel Defense Forces Begin Ground Offensive in Gaza, as Peace Grows More Distant

After escalating conflicts over the past two weeks between Israel and Palestinians, Israel announced late Thursday night that it was initiating a ground invasion of the Gaza strip. The Israeli Defence Forces' actions came after 10 days of exchanging missile fire that has resulted in the deaths of 237 Palestinians and one Israeli.

Who Is Allowed to Sell Oil in Iraq?

In December 2013, the Kurdish autonomous government in Erbil signed a series of energy agreements with Turkey, provoking anger in Baghdad. These agreements, potentially, allow the Kurds to export oil by bypassing the Iraqi government, thereby, making a significant step towards achieving political independence. One key question, however, is whether the Iraqi Kurds are well advised to invest in a Turkish government, which seems to be sinking deeper into a fully-fledged political crisis.

What it Means to Be a Global Citizen

An Interview with Shafik Gabr, Chairman of ARTOC Group

On June 10th, Meridian International Center awarded Shafik Gabr, Chairman of the ARTOC Group for Investment and Development, the 2014 Meridian Global Citizen Award. Declared by Forbes magazine as one of Africa’s most successful businessmen and by Daily News Egypt as the richest known millionaire in Egypt, Shafik Gabr splits his time between Cairo, Washington, Paris, and other major cities around the world. But it is not his travels that make him a global citizen, but rather his consummate work in bridging cultures.

A New Type of Protest: The Taksim-Gezi Protests

A few years ago, Turkey was being hailed as one of the greatest success stories of the 21st century. A booming economy, marked by rapid industrialization, and a robust democratic system made Turkey the prime model of a Muslim democratic state. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey had been able to address the issues of the past and remove the military from the political equation. Erdoğan and his party's popularity had only grown over the years, and it seemed that a united Turkey was poised to enter into a dazzling future.

On U.S. Aid to Egypt, Is There an Ideological Divide?

Pundits, politicians, and professors have debated the merits of continued military aid to Egypt. Much of this discussion centers on whether the violent removal of President Mohamed Morsi was a coup and whether continued aid is therefore illegal under U.S law. Although public opinion polls show that 51 percent of respondents support cutting off aid, to date, no systematic effort has been made to gauge the opinions of scholars who study international relations (IR) for a living.

Saudi Arabia’s Sectarian Policies Behind Resurgence of Al Qaida in Iraq

More than two years after the U.S. withdrawal and nearly a decade after the U.S. forces ousted Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI) from Fallujahh, Iraq is still grappling with an escalating sectarian crisis between the Shia-led government, but also an increasingly disaffected Sunni minority. Even more menacingly, however, AQI has relabelled itself as the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS) and has taken over of parts of Ramadi and Fallujah in the notoriously rebellious Sunni-dominated Anbar province. While the Iraqi army managed to regain parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, it has so far failed to make any headway in Fallujahh.

Addressing the Skills Gap From the Employer’s Perspective
An Interview with Nafez Husseini

What role does the private sector play in bridging the divide between education and employment for hundreds of thousands of youth in economically depressed areas?

Education for Employment (EFE) attempts to bring the private sector and the education sector together to address the problem of a skills mismatch—graduates leaving local schools and entering the workforce without the skills employers need. This skills mismatch is one of the biggest contributors to high youth unemployment rates in the Middle East. As EFE explains, “Private-sector employers often are reluctant to hire youth from marginalized socioeconomic backgrounds, and youth in turn do not trust that the system will give them a fair chance.”

Egypt’s ‘Generation Jobless’

While the global economy seems to have found slightly more steady footing, and has shown some signs of tentative growth, it is not enough for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed youth facing challenges of basic survival every day. In lesser developed countries, a young woman between the ages of 16 to 25 will enter the workforce with no skills and little to no education; if she is able to avoid pregnancy (a scenario that will almost certainly force her to drop out of the formal economy without maternal support programs), she will find herself in a maze of confused communications between the public and private sector. If she is able to find a job in that maze, the chances are high it will be a low quality one, as growth has stagnated for good quality jobs that offer benefits, decent pay, and stability.

Istanbul: Great Potential or ‘Great Divide’

As the only city in the world to ‘naturally’ span two continents, Istanbul has long been considered a major connecting point between Europe and Asia, and vital to trade between the two continents. It also boasts a unique cultural blend as Istanbul’s rich Islamic culture, history, and architecture have merged with more modern, western, and secular influences. More recently, however, the Western and Islamic elements of the city have become increasingly polarized. Without a leader or a philosophy which can unite these two elements, their peaceful co-existence and Turkey’s economic advancement risk being reversed as a ‘great divide’ emerges in Turkish society.

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