Inger Andersen's blog
The very fact alone that this country and its people were in bondage for 42 years is unbelievable. The fact that the nation rose up against tyranny in spite of real danger, incredible losses and an uncertain outcome is a testimony to the courage and determination of a people to win their freedom. And the fact that the Libyan people, and especially its young men and women, hold such incredible optimism about the future, speaks to the indomitable spirit of a nation.
Beautiful ruins speak of a people steeped in history with a deep sense of time and an inherent understanding of change. And it was in this city that I saw without any shadow of a doubt the strength of Libyan determination for their new-found democracy and freedom to succeed.
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.
Knowledge is as vital as oxygen. It drives innovation, allowing economies to grow and countries to prosper. As one of the primary creators and disseminators of knowledge, universities play a critical social role. Their proper management should be a top concern of governments everywhere. Much as the failure of a major organ affects the entire body, a malfunctioning university system has widespread consequences.
Today at Bruegel—one of the leading European think tanks—we exchanged views on the way forward for the Middle East and North Africa countries one year after the Arab Spring. Jean Pisani-Ferry (Director, Bruegel) chaired a discussion focused on EU-MENA integration to jump start growth and job creation in the MENA region. Various experts reflected on the current European approach to foster greater regional integration with and within the MENA countries.
We touched on many important topics during the Live Chat I hosted last month and when we generated a word cloud out of the conversation we had and the issue that leapt out big and bold was EDUCATION. That’s no surprise. I imagine many of the voices who joined me in the chat were young and among young people education and jobs loom as especially significant. But for a number of years now my colleagues at the Bank have been working on education in the Middle East and North Africa with a sharp focus on quality.
Over 600 people across the world joined me today in the first Live Web Chat in Arabic and English hosted by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region of the World Bank. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate your time, your seriousness, your passion and the very clear commitment in all your comments and questions. I am convinced that embracing social media technology platforms to enable our dialogue and discussion with you is the right way to go and I salute all the young people in MENA who have stood out as such a creative example in these communication spaces. We have learned so much from you.