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Middle East
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.

The Gaza ‘Time Bomb’: An Impending Urban Crisis

Over the past few years, urban centers have emphasized their critical sociopolitical relevance. From Madrid to New Delhi, from Manama to Cairo, cities have proven to be seminal flashpoints of battles of iconic status. But with cities in the Arab world having witnessed particularly explosive signs of discontent, many have wondered if the Gaza Strip would ever jump on this ‘bandwagon’. Voices of opposition have largely been silent since the Hamas’ violent take over in 2007, but the Strip’s distraught urban landscape is beginning to indicate that winds of change may be nigh.

Israel, Palestine and…Tamazgha? Indigenous North Africans and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Does Israel have a little-known ally within the supposedly ‘Arab’ world? Due to opposing currents regarding the role of pan-Arabism in pro-Palestinian activism, one population in the MENA region stands out on politics of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Crisis in Syria: What are the Stakes for its Neighbors?

Although it began as an angry protest as part of the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war has since intensified to the destruction of the entire country. Recent estimates put the death count over 100,000, as entire communities are wiped off the map, and refugees in the millions are seeking shelter in nearby countries. As the war intensifies it has an increasing effect on neighboring countries.

Challenging Assumptions about Regional Transitions

As global attention remains focused on those regions freshly emerging from popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, there unfortunately persists a lack of genuine insight into the value shifts and motivating factors that drove each individual revolution. Today we are faced with varying degrees of similar transitional tensions in Syria, Turkey, and reigniting now in Egypt. Global public opinion on these events is often clouded when a nation’s external communications are dominated by an elite discourse that effectively marginalizes true popular sentiments. So how do we attempt to understand the contours of public unrest? By finding opportunities to ask questions.

Morsi’s Assault on Democracy and the Arts in Egypt

The military coup in Egypt that overthrew Mohamed Morsi has raised mixed feelings in the international community—Morsi was democratically elected. The Muslim Brotherhood has made its position clear: elected officials must be voted out of office, not forcibly removed. Many have criticized the United States’ for its support of the new interim government, even though that support has been half-hearted at best. There is ample evidence, however, to support the contention that Morsi’s administration failed its office with willful negligence by acting contrary to the common good of the Egyptian people.

The Continuing Struggle in Bahrain

In recent months protests have erupted in Turkey, Bulgaria, and most recently in Brazil. These new protests add to the increasing number of countries that are experiencing poor government-to-citizen relations. As the list grows longer it becomes easy to focus only on the biggest and most recent protests, but in doing this we tend to forget about the smaller, but no less important corners of the globe.

The small island nation of Bahrain has been in the depths of political unrest for years. Protests have been increasing in number and ferocity since the start of the Bahraini Uprising of 2011, sparked by the Arab Spring, but Bahrain’s protests have seen coverage drop off in mainstream media since 2012. Contrary to what this lack of attention implies, the issues that sparked the protests initially have not been resolved in Bahrain.

Lebanon InstabilityLebanon, a small, cosmopolitan country on the Mediterranean that shares borders with Syria and Israel, is once again suffering from political deadlock. Apart from external sources of instability—the conflicts raging around both the Syrian and Israeli borders—Lebanon also has internal political problems worth considering, especially after the uprisings of the Arab Spring, which led previous autocratic but somewhat stable systems to collapse.

The causes of Lebanon’s internal political instability, which saw the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s 30-member cabinet in March, predates the Lebanese civil war (1975 to 1990) and the rise of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). To understand the Lebanese political system, one has to look back in history to before the origins of the Lebanese Republic.

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