Students from the American University of Sharjah met today with staff from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of the series of roundtable discussions being held at universities throughout the Middle East and North Africa under the IMF Youth Dialog.
The roundtables are an initiative undertaken to seek the views of the next generation of the region’s leaders on issues related to the economic policy challenges facing the Middle East. The Sharjah’s session was the seventh in the series of student meetings, following Lahore, Pakistan; Beirut, Lebanon; Cairo, Egypt; Ifrane, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; and Tunis, Tunisia. In the coming days, the IMF will hold a similar event with students in Saudi Arabia.
“Every day, economic and policy decisions are made that affects the lives of our youth. But rarely do these future leaders have a platform to voice their opinion on issues that matter to them most, such as jobs and economic stability,” said Ralph Chami, IMF’s Chief of the Regional Studies Division in the Middle East and Central Asia Department. “We at IMF recognized this and set out to establish this forum, which will help us better understand the views of today’s youth and give them an opportunity to contribute their perspectives on policy measures for sustainable economic growth in the Middle East.”
As was the case with the earlier roundtables, the students in Sharjah gave particular attention to the issue of youth employment in the region. “During the course of the roundtables, it has become very clear that university students are very focused on their job prospects in the wake of the global financial crisis,” said Maureen Burke of the IMF External Relations Department. “They offered many thoughtful ideas and proposals for policies that might help resolve the problem, and we intend to present their ideas to our IMF colleagues.”
The students also discussed many other challenges facing the region, including the importance of government transparency, the need for improvements in infrastructure, and role of the IMF in helping to bring about sustained economic growth.
The roundtable discussions will be followed by other events to continue and deepen the dialogue. IMF is also hosting the youth dialogue online at www.imfyouthdialog.org, where visitors can interact and post their thoughts.
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