There are currently 100 million young people between the ages of 15 and 29 in the Middle East, the largest proportion of youth in the region’s history. Rather than being perceived as a problem and source of social and economic pressure, this youth bulge can and should be recognized as a demographic gift. With the right policies and enabling environment, young people in the region can be source of economic prosperity as well as positive social change.
On January 7, the Middle East Youth Initiative, a joint partnership of the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings and the Dubai School of Government, presented recent research on how to improve the economic landscape for youth in the Middle East. New working papers on social exclusion, economics of marriage and the state of youth in Egypt, Iran and Syria were presenteded by a distinguished panel of experts, who also discussed the role of institutions in the Middle East and policy recommendations for how the region can leverage its large youth population.