The Most Awarded Thought Leadership Initiative in MENA

A Case Study by ASDA’A BCW

Founder, ASDA’A BCW Sunil John (foreground) speaking during a special panel on the findings of the 11th AYS at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, DC on October 19, 2019. With John on the panel are (L-R) moderator Brian Cheung, reporter with Yahoo Finance; Her Excellency Sahar Nasr, the then Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation; Jihad Azour, Director, IMF Middle East and Central Asia; and Syrine Chaalala, co-Founder and Managing Director, nextProtein.

A Survey like no other

What do 200 million young Arabs have to say about their future? Every year, we set out to answer this question with the annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey – the largest study of its kind into the region’s largest demographic: its youth. The 12th annual edition will launch in September 2020.


Why do we do this Survey?

For three reasons. Our first inspiration was to deliver valuable evidence-based insights on what defines the region – its youthful demographic. When we began our annual Survey back in 2008, the region was known

for being data-poor on this important market segment – and the Survey has filled this gap. Our second belief was to fund the Survey entirely ourselves, ensuring its independence and credibility. We have lived by that belief, as we built and nurtured this initiative. And finally, we wanted to provide the key findings of the Survey freely on a public domain – arabyouthsurvey.com – giving governments, the private sector and civil society across the world critical information, and analysis by global experts, to inform decision-making and policy formation.

Our efforts have paid off with a clean sweep of all major global PR awards providing ASDA’A BCW a distinct position as an industry thought leader.

Research, Insights and Outreach

A key strength is our unbroken chain of data since our first survey in 2008, as we measure sentiment on critical issues year-on-year. We commissioned international polling firm PSB Research, who conducted 3,300 face-to-face interviews with youth aged 18-24 in 15 Arab states in January 2019. The sample split

was 50:50 male to female.

Our strategy was to amplify our findings through the support of well-known experts, while harnessing the power of VIP endorsements to ensure maximum global media coverage. Their input – ranging from shareable social media soundbites to in-depth commentary and analysis – formed the basis of online teaser campaigns, exclusive media content, syndicated op-eds and a white paper.

Global Impact

The 2019 Survey earned coverage in 600+ regional and international media outlets and achieved a total earned airtime of 156 minutes.

On social media, our livestream of the event attracted 50,000+ views, was also shared on the IMF’s Facebook page, and we gained 49,000+ followers across our channels. Our social media content generated 15m+ impressions and reached 12.4m+ people.

The notable personalities and entities that shared our findings with their followers included HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, H.E. Ludovic Pouille, H.E. Patrick Moody, H.E. Marcy Grossman, and the IMF.

Post launch, we provided  in-depth  briefings to VIPs, business leaders and politicians, with a presentation given on request to more than 25 European Union Ambassadors based in the UAE. Sunil John also presented findings  by invitation at Chatham House, London in September 2019, and at a dedicated session at the annual World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington DC in October 2019, and US political title The Hill created AYS panels at three of its events in Washington  DC and London in October and November 2019 – illustrating just how vital this research is in shaping debate about the region and Arab youth at the highest levels around the world.