Aspirations and Resilience: Arab Youth & The COVID-19 Era


At just over 411 million people, the Middle East is known to be the cradle of civilization. Traditionally viewed by Americans as the center of world energy, many perceive it to also be a region in conflict the majority of the time. 

In most societies, the youth typically take the lead in bringing about change. It is no different in the Arab world. A large swath of the population in the Middle East, some 240 million people, are under the age of 30. With greater awareness of the world around them, these youth are motivated to improve their socio-economic conditions, enhance the quality of education they receive and secure better healthcare. 

Indeed, as surveys have shown, there is very little gap in aspirations between young Arabs and young Americans. They both want the benefits of increasing modernity -- better educational experiences, good jobs and opportunities, and widened personal liberties. 

They are also yearning for a balanced blend of secularism in their lives, and they want to have governments that perform well and that they can trust. But now, flanked with new debt and restrictions brought on by a global pandemic, how are these aspirations adapting to a new reality? 

The Hill is picking up where it left off last year, bringing together key U.S. and Middle East leaders and youth representatives from the region for conversations on what this group wants. This event is the first of a three-part series produced by The Hill and will take a comprehensive look at the aspirations and resilience of Arab youth in a period marked by tremendous change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT



  • Rana Abtar, Senior Correspondent, Al Sharq Awsat
  • Eli Chanoch Berman, Law Student, Washington University of St. Louis
  • Tarek Elgawhary, PhD, CEO, Coexist Research International
  • Sunil John, President, BCW Middle East; Founder, ASDA'A BCW
  • Sheikh Khalifa Al Maktoum, Student, Penn State University- Mechanical Engineering 
  • H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, UAE  *Representative of the Underwriter
  • Zineb Riboua, Student, Georgetown University
  • Ahmed Sultan Al Darmaki, Student, Wesleyan University
  • Karen Young, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute


  • H.E. Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States



  • Steve Clemons, Editor-at-Large, The Hill 


Underwritten by: