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Arab youth view a region divided

Khaled Almaeena

In face-to-face interviews conducted with 3,500 Arab youth aged 18-24 and with a sample split 50:50 male/female, the results that followed were an indication of the mindset of young people in the Arab world today.

I wrote about this in the Saudi Arabic media last year and here once again I would like to commend Sunil John for undertaking this great task in a region that does not rely heavily on statistics and surveys in its decision-making process. Sunil John, Chief Executive Officer ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, is however a determined man who is fired up with a zeal to assist Gulf society.

It’s not an easy task but it has been done and for many who are not privy to the Arab mind and base their opinions on other sources, the results of the survey are an eye-opener.

The top 10 findings are as follows:

•  Optimism among young Arabs is waning, with a clear split by geography into “have” and “have-nots”.

• Young Arabs want their countries to do more for them and many feel overlooked by policymakers.

• Young Arabs view unemployment and extremism as the biggest problems holding the Middle East back.

• Many young Arabs say their education system falls short of preparing students for the jobs of the future.

• Young Arabs say Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) has become weaker over the past year.

• The UAE sprints ahead of the pack as the country in which most young Arabs would like to live and want their countries to emulate.

• Young Arabs say Donald Trump is anti-Muslim and express concern, anger and fear about his presidency.

• Anti-American views are on the rise and now Russia – not the US – is seen as the region’s top international ally.

• Despite their pride in the Arabic language, most young Arabs say they are using English more in their daily lives.

• Among young Arabs, Facebook is the number one medium for daily news.

I hope that after going through this report, a more accurate picture will emerge and biases and prejudices will be removed.


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