MEP Launches Riyada Podcast with Support from U.S. Embassy in Jordan
November 12, 2021
Washington, DC - The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program launched today Riyada, a podcast about entrepreneurship and innovation in the Middle East and North Africa region sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan. The planned seasons will bring new and seasoned entrepreneurs to share their successes, challenges and lessons learned. It will also feature investors, educators and government officials as well as other stakeholders in the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
In a region faced with high unemployment and slow private sector growth, entrepreneurship and training are key components of improving stagnant economic conditions and deterring domestic and regional violent extremism. The MENA region’s economic stability is crucial to U.S. national security interests. The Riyada podcast will serve as a bridge between Washington D.C. policymakers and diaspora networks in the U.S., as well as entrepreneurs based in the region to enhance understanding of the entrepreneurship scene in MENA and encourage collaboration with American companies and innovators. Riyada, (meaning entrepreneurship and leadership in Arabic) will include both English and Arabic episodes.
Riyada will join hands with the Straight Up Start Up, a Jordanian podcast hosted by Rajae Sahouri in a special two season series titled Ready to Launch: A MENA Entrepreneurship Podcast. Rajae, having been mentored by business professionals from various industries, identified the need to establish a credible and open platform, through which experts from different fields could share their stories with wider audiences and influence the lives of aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in Jordan where youth unemployment is high and jobs in the public sector are scarce.
“The Middle East Program at the Wilson Center has proven to provide top-notch studies about the socioeconomic developments in the MENA region which help stakeholders in the business eco-system and policymakers to have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities and make more informed decisions. With that put into perspective, the Straight Up Start Up’s partnership with Riyada aims to bring these publications and knowledge products to these stakeholders and create a knowledge hub through the joint episodes. I am looking forward to the insight and opportunities for this new beginning,” noted Rajae Sahouri.
“Through these conversations on Riyada, we hope to educate and inspire audiences in the United States and across the MENA region with stories of the burgeoning entrepreneurship space in the region. In addition to giving voice to aspiring young entrepreneurs, men and women who are beating social norms and taking risks, this podcast aims to enrich our research at the Wilson Center with their lessons learned and experiences” said Merissa Khurma, host of Riyada and Director of the Middle East Program.
“Supporting the launch of Riyada in collaboration with the Wilson Center advances the United States’ commitment to cultivating strong communities of practice in a region that has become a hub for entrepreneurship. We are thrilled to partner with the Center and entrepreneurs to bring new skills and ideas to the next generation of innovators and leaders," noted Stefanie Altman-Winans, Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of the United States of America in Amman, Jordan.
Middle East Program
The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Read more
The MENA Workforce Development Initiative
The Middle East and North Africa Workforce Development Initiative (MENA-WDI) aims to assess both current and projected challenges facing the region in developing the workforce and the implications for peace and stability. Read more