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INSIGHT: Year Four of the Arab Awakening

How will history judge the uprisings that started in many parts of the Arab world in 2011? The label “Arab Spring” proved too simplistic from the beginning. Transformational processes defy black-and-white expectations, but in the end, will the awakenings be more reminiscent of what happened in Europe in 1848, when several uprisings took place More »

INSIGHT: Time for a US-Moroccan Reset

When President Obama hosts Morocco’s King Mohammed VI today, he will have an opportunity to repair the damage from an ill-advised initiative on Western Sahara earlier this year, compounded by the sudden postponement of Secretary of State John Kerry’s scheduled visit to Rabat earlier this month. Lacking a surfeit of strong Arab allies these More »

INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

As the graph below makes painfully clear, the Middle East and North Africa face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.” I’ve previously highlighted troubling trends in youth employment, including the More »

INSIGHT: Women in the Workforce in the Arab World

A great debate has been raging over whether the so-called Arab Spring has been good or bad for the women of the region. Some argue that the rise of Islamist governments in places like Egypt and Tunisia has led to a stark reversal of women’s rights. Others believe that the vibrant social and political More »

‘Harlem Shaking’ It Up Across the Middle East

Just when the Gangnam Style craze began to fizzle, and we thought that the world would be spared another viral dance phenomenon, enter the Harlem Shake.   It began as a 2012 heavy bass instrumental music track produced by Baauer, the stage name of American music producer Harry Rodrigues,  uploaded to YouTube in August 2012.  More »

INSIGHT: The ‘Chicken and Egg’ of Skills, Jobs in the Arab World

A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – Rethinking Economic Growth: Towards Productive and Inclusive Arab Societies – examines employment issues, the relative lack of dynamic private sectors, broken social contracts, and more in the Arab world. The chapter on education is particularly interesting. The report More »

INSIGHT: Bolstering Education and Science in the Arab World

A decade ago, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) shone a spotlight on the sorry state of education in the Arab world with its inaugural Arab Human Development Report in 2002, and its 2003 follow-on report, “Building a Knowledge Society.” The reports’ statistics still shock: in one year, Spain translates the same number of More »

Arab Women Launch Online Uprising

On October 1st, 2012, women organizers launched a Facebook page, “The Uprising of Women in the Arab World,” to highlight the discrimination against them which they don’t feel comfortable – or safe – enough to protest in the streets.  In just ten days, the page has generated nearly 35,000 “likes” and conversation among more More »

The World Reacts to Anti-Muslim Film

Probably not since the notorious Quran burning calls by controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones in 2010/2011 have relations been so tense between the United States and the Muslim world in what seemingly boils down to a conflict between perceived blasphemy and free speech. Still sore wounds were reopened earlier this month by a YouTube More »

WATCH: Touareg Grammy Winners Tinariwen on World Tour

They won this year’s Grammy for Best World Music album.  The Touareg group Tinariwen is currently on a world tour to promote its Tassili CD. VOA’s David Byrd caught up with the group when they visited Washington, D.C., and reports that the current turmoil in the group’s home country of Mali is never far More »

Clinton Calls on Middle East Activists to Assess US Support

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Middle East democracy activists to the State Department on Tuesday, asking for their input on how the United States can help advance freedom and human rights in the region. Greeting the activists before the meeting, Clinton called on them to give their “honest assessments” of the best ways More »

Current Affairs Podcast With Carol Castiel: Mustapha El Khalf's First 100 Days

 Interviews with newsmakers and thought leaders about events and issues affecting the broader Middle East and the More »

Without iTunes in Middle East, Music Piracy on the Rise

If you want to buy a CD in the Arab world – legally, that is – you can’t go online and simply download it.  You either have to resort to piracy or hope that the local music shop sells the artist you are looking for.  iTunes, the world’s biggest music store, is available in More »

Current Affairs Podcasts With Carol Castiel

 Interviews with newsmakers and thought leaders about events and issues affecting the broader Middle East and the More »

UPDATED: Touareg Musicians Tinariwen Take Home Grammy

Up against three other nominees, the Touareg group Tinariwen receives a Best World Music Album Grammy for its Tassili Desert Sessions at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles February 12. Their beginnings come out of conflict and turmoil.  Now they say they want their music to help build a new tomorrow for More »

Hit Film ‘Zenne Dancer’ Explores Turkish Gay Community

Movie based on true story of homosexual man who police suspect was murdered by his father in honor killing More »

POLL: What Arabs Really Think About Turkey

A newly-released survey finds that majorities across the Middle East have positive views about Turkey and its role in the region.  This according to the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), which yesterday released its third annual Perception of Turkey in the Middle East survey. Out of more than 2,300 respondents  TESEV surveyed across More »

The Arab Spring One Year On: What Has Changed?

It has been a year since the start of the so-called Arab Spring. Several old regimes in the Middle East and North Africa have been overthrown; others are still clinging to power.  Islamist political parties have taken a new place on the stage and old assumptions about the region are being challenged. But has anything More »

Five Political Arab Spring Music Bands You Need To Watch

Arab Spring was a revolution of the arts as well as the politics of many Middle Eastern countries.  One form of artistic expression that became integral to the demonstrations on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the region was music.  Witness the rise of Ramy Essam, an architecture student in Mansoura who grabbed his More »

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Morocco Charts Own Arab Spring

King Mohammed VI named a new government almost six weeks after parliamentary elections on November 25, 2011, catapulted the Justice and Development Party (PJD), a moderate Islamist movement, to power. Abdelilah Benkirane, PJD’s secretary general, was appointed Head of Government. Since the PJD did not win an outright majority of the 395 parliamentary seats, Benkirane More »