For Immediate Release
CASABLANCA, MOROCCO - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will convene youth from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Casablanca, Morocco, November 14-17, for a conference titled "Our Voices, Our Communities: Emerging Role of Arab Youth in Development."
A total of 120 youth civil society representatives and USAID staff will gather to discuss challenges and opportunities in economic growth, environment, education, and youth participation in these sectors. Youth participants from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen were selected from an open application process and represent individuals who are active in community development work that is focused on helping find solutions to development challenges.
This meeting will provide young participants with the opportunity to engage in a dialogue on community development priorities, to exchange views with stakeholders on effective development approaches, to comment on key areas of USAID involvement in the region, and to build networks with other young participants from the region.
Nearly 65 percent of the population in the MENA region is under the age of 30; and about 30 percent of the population is between the ages of 15 and 24. The youth population is a potentially valuable partner for USAID across the MENA region, as they will shape the trajectory of countries in transition and will be crucial to developing sustainable democratic institutions and building prosperous economies.
"We are eager at USAID to learn from young people about what they see as the development challenges they face, and how they are engaged in meeting these challenges. As we move forward with our work, hearing from those critical civil society representatives will help us to be more effective," said Mara Rudman, Assistant Administrator for USAID's Middle East Bureau.
Built from youth input and feedback, the conference agenda will include facilitated discussions, working groups on specific topics (education, economic growth, environment, and youth participation and policy), and site visits to view and engage with relevant development programs. Activities will also include a cultural night and a "Souk of Ideas," in which participants can set up a visual display to share their community development work.
Last updated: November 29, 2012