x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Arab Spring causes the focus of study

Study into root causes of the Arab Spring finds that women make up the majority of bloggers in many Arab countries.

DUBAI // Women make up the majority of the bloggers in many Arab countries, accounting for 82 per cent of blogging in Algeria, more than 70 per cent in the UAE and Qatar, and almost 70 per cent in Saudi Arabia, a study by the Arab Thought Foundation looking into the causes of the Arab Spring found.

The study, featuring a "comprehensive survey" of Arab youth activity online, including what they searched for and what they blogged about, will be released early next month ahead of a conference exploring the influence of the uprising.

"The report found that women swept the blogging field in the Arab world," said Dr Suleiman Abdel Muneim, the general director of the Arab Thought Foundation. However, he did not provide a reason for this trend. "We are like a camera, we capture the reality through numbers which might reveal more than any analysis."

The foundation's fourth report on cultural development looks at six key issues concerning Arab youth. It will be issued on December 4, a day before the foundation's 10th Fikr conference, "Arab Spring: What's Next?" to be held in Dubai from December 5-7.

The conference aims to raise questions about the Arab Spring's effect on cultural development, the credibility of social networks and the implications of foreign intervention.

"In our foundation, we do not seek to present thoughts, but rather platforms for thought to be exchanged," Dr Muneim said.

The former Moroccan minister of human rights and a current member of parliament, Mohamed Ujar; and the former Lebanese minister of information, Tarek Metri, are among the speakers.

On the concluding day of the conference, the foundation will hand out the Arab Creative Awards, each of which carries a US$50,000 (Dh184,000) prize. The awards are granted in the areas of Artistic, Literary, Social, Technical and Scientific and creativity.

This year, however, the consultative committee for the foundation decided to exclude the media, economic and most important book genres.