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February 2016

A Libyan debate show keeps discussion alive

Christine Petré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français


You never know what you might hear on the Libyan debate show Hiwar Mushtarak, or ‘Shared Debate.’ The show aims to foster an open dialogue about the country’s current challenges and its potential future by bringing together Libyans of all stripes. There are panel discussions featuring a diverse range of Libyan politicians and civil society activists, and the audience is encouraged to engage, giving a voice to ordinary Libyan citizens.

The legal problems of refugees

Paul Prettitore's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Refugees - Lukasz Z l Shutterstock

Like other vulnerable people, refugees are likely to encounter legal problems. These problems are often linked directly to their displacement, but also reflect general problems poor people encounter related to family, civil, and criminal matters. The longer a person’s displacement, the more legal problems that tend to arise, especially those problems that are less closely linked to displacement.  And these problems begin to strain local institutions.  The Ministry of Justice has reported increased caseloads of 84 percent in Mafraq, 77 percent in Irbid and 50 percent in Amman, all of which are areas with considerable refugee populations.

Getting Syrians back to work – a win-win for host countries and the refugees

John Speakman's picture
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 John Speakman l World Bank

For the last six weeks or so I have been more or less full time engaged in thinking about how we can generate employment opportunities for Syrians in countries that are hosting them, particularly those located in Syria’s near neighbors.  I have reflected on my experience in working on private sector development in Syria nearly a decade ago.  As someone who had worked in virtually every country in the Middle East I was amazed at the country’s industrial potential. 

Iran’s return to the oil market: Who benefits and who loses?

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Teheran, Iran - Borna_Mirahmadian l Shutterstock

The collapse of oil prices to levels unseen since the early 2000s has shaken markets and confidence in the health of major economies. Expert opinions about the factors driving the steep descent in oil prices include the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran. Yet, there is no consensus on the extent to which Iran’s return to markets has affected oil prices or the welfare of affected parties.

Counting the costs of the war in Syria

Ghanimah Al-Otaibi's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


Measuring the impact of war on Syria is an ongoing challenge as the conflict continues to devastate the lives of people and their communities. However, efforts to understand the nature and extent of the damage are essential for identifying immediate needs, and for preparing reconstruction plans that can be launched at the first sign of peace.

Jordan’s Syrian Refugees – what a difference a year makes

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
 Shutterstock l Melih Cevdet Teksen

In February 2015 a blog in these pages tried to draw attention to the plight of the Syrian refugees in Jordan. This was before the drastic cuts in aid over 2015 by severely underfunded humanitarian agencies and before the massive refugee influx into Europe. For Syria’s neighboring countries, Europe’s “refugee crisis” was only the latest stage of a much bigger crisis they had been weathering since  2011. That same blog had also called for greater outside support for Jordan and its host communities - as well as for the refugees - and there are encouraging signs on both fronts, even as the severity of the crisis continues to grow.

One school sets an example for changes in public education in Egypt

Esmat Lamei's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Almarag School

In 2014, a Cooperation Protocol was signed by the Egyptian Ministry of Education, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, and the Oasis International school, a private school established in 1989 to build a model public school known as the Egyptian International School—El Marag, offering the IB program.

Pro-poor health coverage expands in Egypt

Alaa Hamed's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Amira Nour & Sarah Fouad

After the Arab Spring, Egypt’s health sector went through a shaky transition as seven consecutive Egyptian Ministers of Health struggled to make the sector live up to the revolution’s ideal of a  health sector that would serve to uphold human dignity and social justice. Pre-revolution reforms to the sector had focused on expanding access to essential services in family health and to health insurance coverage. The political environment and the sector’s limited capacity had not, however, made it possible for these pilot schemes to be scaled up properly, with a pro-poor focus.