There is something mystical about the name Millennials compared with the Baby Boomers or the 'flower power' generation, which implies that people born in the past two decades are somewhat special. But a closer look at history and relevant studies on Millennials shows that these young people have the same dreams and ambitions as their parents and their grandparents when they were young: break existing boundaries, be free in their choices, and change the status quo in the name of equality, justice and freedom.
Therefore, the different in this eternal fight between 'the young' and 'the ruling' lays not in the goals but in the measures and the technological possibilities of the young generation today compared to past centuries. The endless possibilities of the internet, the global reach of social media and the ease of travelling around the globe in a short time give Millennials the possibility to be active, reach their audience and mobilise their peers more effectively than any generation before.
They can attract attention to politics in Gaza from San Francisco, like the founder of all-digital news channel AJ+ Dana Takruri; discuss topics of importance in the Middle East and north Africa from Dubai, like commentator Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi; or develop an impressive renewable energy initiative for a multinational corporation in east Africa, like entrepreneur Patrick Ngowi. They are well educated, often multilingual with close ties to different cultures, and quite entrepreneurial in their approaches towards changing the status quo of their neighborhood, country or regions.
All these aspects are important cornerstones for an economy in search of foreign investment. In fact, countries such as Iran are deeply reliant on the young generation of Iranians abroad to enrich the country’s population and become a driving engine for its future economic and social development. However, it all comes back again to the same historical question: will those in power today create a peaceful framework for the young to build upon? After all, all those positive characteristics are useless without stability and peace.
Mazdak Rafaty is managing partner of Ludwar International Consultancy and SME advisor to the joint Emirati-German Chamber of Commerce. Email: email@example.com