As we all watch the events unfolding in the Middle East, transfixed by the politics and social and economic ramifications of it all, it occurred to me that it might not be a bad idea to look at what the Arab World was reading by way of fiction. I could not locate a best-sellers list covering the region but work on putting together such a regional list is ongoing. So I turned to the 5th International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), a literary prize managed by the Booker Prize Foundation in London, and funded by the Emirates Foundation in Abu Dhabi. The prize is for prose fiction by Arabic authors, very much like the Man Booker Prize in the UK.
I am very pleased to announce the launch of a new recruitment drive for Arabic speakers, called the SMART (Strategic MNA Arabic Recruitment of Talent) program, which will provide a small cohort of the best and brightest Arabic speakers with a unique opportunity to pursue a career at the Bank. We are very excited to introduce young, dynamic professionals to the MENA region of the World Bank and in this small way contribute to the expansion of the Arab talent in the World Bank’s MENA Region.