Frustration is common among Arab youth, more often than not young people in the Arab world feel disenfranchised, somewhat hopeless about the future of their region and unable to relate to the older generation that takes pride in glories that belong in the past.
However, there are plenty of positive things that the region's youth have been doing to change that, and their accomplishments should not only give hope for a brighter future, but be acknowledged and celebrated.
Here are 5 things in particular that young Arabs should be proud of and continue to pursue:
1. The Arab world's booming startup scene
The past few years have seen MENA turn into one of the world's most promising and thriving startup hubs, bursting with productive innovation. This is all thanks to the region's youth. With each startup inspiring the other, young and often tech-savvy Arab entrepreneurs have been translating their ideas into viable businesses.
From Egyptian startups breaking new grounds in technology like Instabug and Pushbots, to Jordanian startups nurturing Arab literature like Project Pen, to UAE startups creatively encouraging others to be creators like Junkbot, each success story is proof that young people are leading innovation in the Arab world.
2. The new age of Arab cinema
Far from the days of producing tiresome romantic epics, young Arab filmmakers are now creating smart, high quality and socially responsible films that tackle important issues and tell fresh stories that further authentic Arab narratives while showcasing Arab talent.
Arab cinema has been thriving in originality, with internationally acclaimed films like Mai Masri's "3000 Nights," Mir Jean Bou Chaaya's "Film Keteer Kebeer (Very Big Shot)," Haifaa Al-Mansour 's "Wadjda," Leyla Bouzid's "Ala Halet Einy (As I Open My Eyes)" and Naji Abu Nowar's "Theeb" pushing boundaries like never before.
In addition, youth have been behind the birth of the Saudi film industry, with the emergence of Saudi filmmakers like Mansour getting even more recognition for Arab cinema.
3. The new Arab music scene
Much like Arab cinema, young musicians have led the transformation of music in the Arab world from outdated romantic ballads abiding by a worn-out formula to socially-aware and original music that innovates as much in content as it does in musical style.
The independent music scene in the Arab world has been thriving in recent years, with musicians like Youssra El-Hawary and Dina El-Wedidi and bands like Cairokee, Mashrou' Leila and JadaL breaking boundaries with innovative music that tackles relevant social issues, giving young people a voice they can relate to.
4. The new age of Arab literature
Young people have also led the evolution of Arab literature, with further innovations in the style, content and genre of fiction and non-fiction that have brought about wider audiences and given modern Arabic literature a new identity.
Young Arab writers like Ahmed Mourad, author of "Torab El-Mas" and "El Feel El-Azrak," Mohamed Sadek, author of "Hepta," Ahmed Khalid Tawfik, author of "Utopia," Raja Alem, author of "The Doves' Necklace," Saud Al-Sanousi, author of "Sak El-Bamboo" and Joumana Haddad, author of "I Killed Scheherazade," have challenged the rules imposed on Arabic literature.
5. The rise of cause initiatives in the Arab world
Like the growth of entrepreneurship, the past few years have also seen a notable increase in socially-responsible cause initiatives led by young people in MENA.
From launching social media campaigns like Lebanon's "Tel'et Rehetkom" (You Stink) and Egypt's "Roam Egypt" and "This is Egypt" to forming their own non-profit organizations, young people in the region have taken the lead in raising awareness about a wide range of issues such as gender inequality and societal stereotyping.