The incredible media buzz around Chris Schroeder’s book “Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East” is, per se, a very telling fact. A new positive narrative on the MENA region is in the making: in the gloomy Arab winter of the failed revolutions, a bright glimmer of hope is emerging; despite everything, a new generation of daring entrepreneurs is carving out a future for the region.
The heroic figure of the individual rising up against all obstacles – institutions, conflicts, repression…- seems to satisfy simultaneously the liberalism of westerners, the orientalism of regional connoisseurs, Arab’s dignity and the need for international organizations to circumvent failing/”unfriendly” state institutions.
However, this opportune “positive thinking” on the Arab world entails a number of implicit assumptions that must be analyzed and questioned. In the context of the upcoming Fikr 12 Conference on “Enabling Job Creation in the Arab World” (Dubai, 4-5th December 2013), we would like to explore these assumptions.