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May 15, 2015

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Glick and Kumar Participate in Conference on Youth Unemployment in the Arab World

Peter Glick (center) and fellow panelists during the Arab Youth Employment Conference in Jordan

Photo by Krishna Kumar

Senior economist Peter Glick and RAND Labor and Population director Krishna Kumar participated in the 2015 Arab Youth Employment conference, held April 28-30 in Amman, Jordan. Youth unemployment in the Arab world is the highest in the world, reaching 29 percent in 2014. The aim of the conference was to explore innovative ways for governments, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and Arab youth populations to engage with each other and address the employment challenge.

Glick organized and participated in the panel "Successes, Obstacles, and Innovation in Engaging the Private Sector for Youth Skills and Employment: What are the Lessons Going Forward?" He shared findings from a RAND study of the role of the private sector in youth employment initiatives, conducted for the Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) coalition, in which RAND participates.

Private-sector involvement in youth employment programs is important to their success, but there are often challenges in attracting employers to participate in training and other initiatives. While programs to foster youth entrepreneurship have shown positive effects, there are fewer such programs in the Middle East and North Africa than in other regions. Technology, especially the Internet and social media, is a potentially great source of innovation for youth employment, and several promising private sector-led initiatives are already under way.

The panel used the study's findings as a starting point to discuss private-sector solutions to the challenges in job creation for Arab youth. RAND's participation in the S4YE coalition is made possible through funding from the Pardee Global Human Progress Initiative at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.

Other panels at the conference focused on youth economic empowerment and sustainable human development, the role of mentors in supporting youth workforce participation and fostering leadership skills, opportunities for youth in technology fields and the hospitality industry, youth enterprise financing, and the effects of displacement on employment opportunities.

More RAND work on Arab youth unemployment »

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