Why is there so much interest in the youth demographic? Put simply, the Middle East’s youth population bulge makes it too big to ignore. “In 2015, close to one person out of five in the region was aged between 15 and 24 years,” the World Economic Forum recently noted, following on an earlier observation that “one-third of the population is below the age of 15 years”. The forum goes on to suggest the one of the main challenges will be the empowerment of youth and the huge pool of talent, energy, and resources it represents. How does the Arab Spring fit into this issue? In 2011, the Arab Spring led to regime change in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, as well as further protests across the region. For many, the abiding images of the period feature large crowds of young people armed with little more than their phones. The use of phones to coordinate activity and share images and status updates with the world via Facebook and Twitter helped facilitate change, but views vary on the extent of its contribution. Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Why the revolution will not be tweeted’ and John Pollock’s ‘How Egyptian and Tunisian youth hacked the Arab Spring’ offer two perspectives, while Clay Shirky’s exploration of ‘The political power of social media’ placed events in a wider historical context about technology’s contribution to civil society and the public sphere, and internet freedom as a tool of statecraft.” Whatever your point of view, the Arab Spring highlighted that everyone… [Read full story]
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