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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 »

Images of the Week: August 24 – August 31

Egypt’s president sides with Syria’s rebels, an Israeli court rules an American’s death an accident, activists try to deliver aid to Palestinians, the world meets the man vying to unseat U.S. President Barack Obama from the White House, and more. In Cairo this week, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi used new powers regained from the military to More »

Middle East Images of the Week

This week in Bahrain, human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years in prison in what observers call a ‘shocking’ decision. In Iran, earthquakes killed hundreds and injured over 4,500. Relief workers tried desperately to free trapped citizens from the rubble and Tehran, after initially rejecting help, called for international aid. In Syria, fierce More »

Middle East Images of the Week

This week in Syria, government forces pushed back Free Syrian Army rebels in Aleppo, a bomb exploded in the state news agency, and President Bashar al-Assad’s newly appointed prime minister, Riad Hijab, defected, raising the question, is the Syrian regime coming apart? In Lebanon, security forces detained for questioning former information minister Michel Samaha, an ally of Syrian More »

Current Affairs Podcast: Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East

In this newsmaker interview, Marc Lynch, author of The Arab Uprising, The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East, discusses his recently published book and the future of the new Middle East with host Carol Castiel and VOA Middle East senior reporter Cecily Hilleary. Listen and find out why Lynch identifies Turkey, Qatar, Egypt More »

Qatar: Why Is the World’s Richest Country So Fat?

The developed world is getting fatter, but Western Hemisphere countries are facing a serious challenger when it comes to their status as  global pound-packing champions. Sporting a GDP of $181.7 billion and a population of close to two million, Qatar, in terms of per capita income*, is the richest nation in the world. It also 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 »

Samsung, iPhone, Nokia and the Next Arab Spring

FILE - A Saudi woman is seen using an iPhone at a festival on the outskirts of Riyadh. (Reuters)

If there is to be another Arab Spring in the next few years, it will look markedly different from what has transpired in 2011-12. Social media and mobile phones clearly played a role. But satellite television was deemed the amplifier that took self-organizing groups on Twitter and Facebook and turned them into million-man (and More »

Saudi Women Now Banned From London 2012 Olympics

It appears that Saudi Arabia will not send female athletes to London this year as part of its official Olympic team. But the kingdom doesn’t mind if they go on their own. Earlier reports had said at least one athlete – equestrienne Dalma Rushdi Malhas, a bronze medalist at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore More »

#Dubai World Cup Takes Off with #Females Hoping to Make History

A full field of 14 horses has been entered for Saturday’s running of the Dubai World Cup race, the world’s richest horse race.  Canadian Chantal Sutherland will make history by being the first female jockey to ride in the contest.  Meanwhile, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is hoping the filly Royal Delta will More »

A New Era? Saudis to Send Women to London 2012

A New Era? Saudis to Send Women to London 2012

After negotiations with the International Olympic Committee, it appears that Saudi Arabia will send its first female competitors to the London 2012 Olympics in July.  Is this the beginning of a new era or just a token response to outside pressure? Saudi Arabia is one of three nations in the Olympic movements that have not More »

BLOG: #Syria Protests Mark Year of Revolution. Now What?

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of one of the Middle East’s longest, bloodiest and undecided Arab Spring revolutions. As UN special envoy Kofi Annan works to end the violence in Syria, demonstrations continue in Syria’s towns and cities and terrorists possibly linked to al Qaida bombed a government security building in Damascus. In Washington, more than a thousand More »

Desperate Measures, Iranian Moves Shake Up Oil Markets

Iran has cut its oil shipments to Britain and France and is threatening to cut off all sales to the E.U. in response to sanctions. What could a reduction in Iranian oil mean for the world economy and are there other countries that could fill the void? Flux in oil sales The United States and its allies 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 »

VOTE NOW: Is It Time for a Permanent Muslim Seat on the UN Security Council?

U.N. Security Council (Reuters Image)

Since the founding of the United Nations, Middle Eastern countries – with their Muslim majority – have witnessed persistent conflict and these conflicts have been deliberated in countless U.N. Security Council debates and resolutions.  One idea that has generated great controversy  as of late is the merits and drawbacks of the appointment of a 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 »