Talented Generation Y Arabs must be recognized

TEDx showcases a collection of talks and ideas “worth sharing” about technology, education, and design. Organised by the We Are Family foundation, TEDxTeen is usually held in New York City, but will be coming to London for the first time ever this year.

A fast-growing phenomenon, I can’t help but wonder what kind of ideas and campaigns our own Middle Eastern teens could showcase at an event like this, if it was brought to the region.

E is for education, entrepreneurship, and eloquence

Education reform has sadly not been on the forefront of governmental agendas over the past few years, with the spotlight taken by regional conflicts and unrest.

The bottom line is that this young Arab generation must not grow up surrounded by images of beheadings and killings in their name. The region has a lot to offer

Yara al-Wazir

The beauty embodied by Arabian art is famous for is echoed by some rising entrepreneurs in the region. The simplicity and beauty used by BarakaBits.com to showcase Arab talents and initiatives is truly reminiscent of traditional Arab art.

The three E’s, education, entrepreneurship, and eloquence are met in Educate-ME, an organisation that helps underprivileged kids identify what they want to do in the future, and gives them the tools to achieve it.

R is for refugees, not revolutions

The stories and tales of Arab revolutions are inspiring, in theory. The region revolted against tyranny only to realise it didn’t quite know what it wanted. While the revolutions were an instigator to social change and a regional wakening to what really matters, sadly, the wave of uncertainty and delinquency brought on a few hundred thousand refugees.

This is what TEDxTeenMiddleEast would showcase: young refugees and how they are dealing with change. “R” isn’t necessarily for revolutions, but can be fore the racism that the refugees have faced since fleeing their homelands, be it in their neighbouring Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, or abroad in Europe.

Likewise, however, there are numerous on-the-ground civil society organizations that are helping these refugees move on with their lives. We must shine the spotlight on them in order to ensure the local governments support them.

D is for designing solutions, not just cupcakes

The cupcake revolution took over the GCC in 2010. A wave of homemade self-taught bakers used social media to promote their goods. While an excellent business model in concept, it wasn’t sustainable and died out quickly thereafter.

D isn’t just for designing cupcakes and clothes, although the region is rich in that talent. D is for designing code. Code such as the one developed by Habib Haddad for Yamli, a website that allows you to type in English and give san output in Arabic, making the ongoing bilingual struggles seamless.

Design is also about sustainable solutions such as the ones developed by scientific pioneers. Adeeb al-Blooshi, a 10-year-old Emirati, has the possibility of revolutionising the live-in maid and nanny industry with a robot he developed to help his mother with the housework.

We have potential we must showcase

The bottom line is that this young Arab generation must not grow up surrounded by images of beheadings and killings in their name. The region has a lot to offer.

Despite the atrocities and difficulties faced over the past decade, Generation Y and the Millennia’s are thinkers, believers, designers, and entrepreneurs who can carry out a successful revolution in changing the image the world has of the region. It’s our obligation to provide them with this opportunity and showcase their achievements.


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Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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