If you ask us...

Five young people working with UNICEF reflect on the UNICEF MENA Generation 2030 report

Diana Samman, Hasan Nabulsi, Karam Al-Shalabi, Fares Amer, and Rasha Abou Dargham

During the first half of the 21st century, an unprecedentedly large proportion of the population in the Middle East and North Africa will transition into their most productive years, opening up the potential for a demographic dividend - economic growth spurred by demographic changes. 

We were asked what we thought of the findings of UNICEF’s latest Report Generation 2030. Here are our takeaways...

Photo of Diana

"I read the Generation 2030 report thinking that I would find answers, but I found myself asking more questions. I think the biggest surprise while reading this report is feeling lucky, lucky that I have found a job at a young age, why should I feel lucky for having a job?

Why can’t this be the normal situation of young people in this region? Why should young people from this region feel that they have to leave the region to find a good life and build a future or a family? Why should great minds go to waste? We believe in our potential, but who else does?"

Join our conversation using the hashtag #GEN2030and tell us what you think or if your experience is similar to mine, then share your questions.

Diana Samman

Photo of Hasan

"Although insightful, the findings of the ‘MENA Generation 2030” report were not particularly shocking to me, considering the number of economic crises, poor governance, and the rising instability across the region.

I believe there is an underlying thread between the different issues presented in the report: low achievements in the education system, the mismatch between the skills of youth and the job market, the high levels of unemployment, lack of confidence among the youth in their governments and the fading hope in having better prospects are all intertwined.

The big question is how are decision-makers going to react to such evidence-based research? Many similar alarming findings were revealed recently but very little seems to be changing, and the cycle continues. I still hope that something will change in this region before it’s too late."

Join our conversation using the hashtag #GEN2030 and tell us about your experiences in school or finding a job.

Hasan Nabulsi 


Photo of Karam

"The Gen2030 Report was an eye-opener for me. I knew that the Middle East and North Africa region is going through rough times, but to see this in the form of statistics and numbers were shocking.

Millions of children and youth are suffering from at least one major challenge that affects their life directly. Whether it is conflict, poverty, lack of education or early marriage. I hope each country in this region focuses on achieving peace, stability, and improvement of people’s quality of life within the coming 10 years, so we can turn to find solutions together for our current situation."

Join our conversation using the hashtag #GEN2030 and tell us what challenges you face and what would help you overcome them. 

Karam Al-Shalabi

Photo of Fares

"Reading UNICEF's Generation 2030 report and trying to take in its striking figures, it hit me strongly that my region, due to numerous factors, is in ruins.

A sense of urgency took hold of me, and I realized that I must take up my role as a citizen of this region, bear my share of responsibility, and join my energy with all the latent and tremendous energies that I know my generation possesses.

I am hopeful that we will do justice to our dear region, and I take comfort that I am not at all alone. There can be no other way forward but for us to work together as one. Not long after finishing the report, perhaps weirdly, I got excited: we know what we need, and I am excited about wonderful stories of hard work, courage, and better days."

Join our conversation using the hashtag #GEN2030 and share with us your thoughts on how we can make this region a better place for us all.

Fares Amer  

Photo of Rasha

"I remember when I first started looking for a job. It was difficult to find paid internships and even entry-level jobs required experience.

Back then I had just graduated, and I couldn’t relate to what people thought was a world of opportunities after graduation. I was fortunate enough to complete my studies at university and yet I was left with the confusion about what to do with my degree.

After reading the Generation 2030 report, my mind was transported back to these days between graduation and until I found my first job. I could relate to every word of young people feeling like there is a deterioration in the quality of life and not having confidence that their governing systems can help them achieve their ambitions.

Young people make up half this region. We should not be made to feel alienated and challenged beyond endurance. I find hope in beginning to talk about these challenges through this report and most importantly at a regional level.

The more united we are, the stronger of a force we are to withstand anything that challenges a brighter future for us."

Join our conversation using the hashtag #GEN2030 and tell us what keeps you motivated for a better future in this region. 

Rasha Abou Dargham


MENA Generation 2030

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