Youth in the Arab States: Reshaping History

27 Jul

The side event on Youth in the Arab States was organized on behalf of UN Development Group (UNDG). The panel consisted of Moroccan Minister for Youth and Sports, Arab States Regional Officer, Senior Advisor at the Millennium Project with the UN from Algeria, and two representatives of youth, from Tunisia and Egypt respectively.


It was commonly expressed that youth issue in the Arab states is critical. Main obstacles that youth is facing include:

– exclusion of many legal and decision making systems

-current infrastructure

-lack of democracy and participation in it

-extensive differences between hopes and reality

-caught in between modernity and tradition

-no partnership to mainstream the issue of human rights

-no practical experience working with democracy in action

-only 2% of young people in Egypt are politically engaged

-many barriers for young people to create their groups or NGOs


Moroccan Minister was more interested in talking about the new constitution than about youth issues. He said next year Morocco will have a visible change – a REVOLUTION – as he called. All thanks to the new constitution, according to which all ministries will work with young people. We will see about that.

Young Tunisian political activist spoke about upcoming October elections in Tunisia. A lot of new parties were created, but people were not consulted, their opinions did not matter. There is absence of the young people in transitional government, in media discussions.

She also called for a change in paternalistic values, and for barriers to be removed. ”We don’t have to work ON youth, we have to work WITH youth”. Well said.



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