Scotland can learn from challenges of Arab Spring

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Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf has said that Scotland can learn from the experiences of the Arab Spring.

Speaking at the 13th Doha Forum in Qatar – the world’s foremost arena for discussions on democracy, development and free trade in the Middle East – Mr Yousaf said:

“The Arab Spring brought rapid changes, challenges and opportunity to the region, while Scotland’s own constitutional journey towards next year’s independence referendum has been a peaceful and democratic process.  However, there are lessons that we can both learn to our mutual benefit.

“For example, we need to do more in Scotland to increase participation, especially of young people, in our politics.  We need to learn more about how we can use digital media as a means of consulting with young people, to make them feel more engaged.

“The challenges for the new democracies are many and varied.  Scotland’s experience is that an inclusive approach that respects the views of others and places human rights at its core can help frame the environment in which peaceful transition can take place.

“It is this approach that led to the historic Edinburgh Agreement between the Scottish and UK Government to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and a commitment to work together in the best interests of the people regardless of the result.”

Mr Yousaf was invited to speak at the 13th Doha Forum by the Qatari Government.  During his visit to Doha, the Minister also undertook a series of meetings and engagements to explore how the Scottish and Qatari Governments can further build co-operation particularly around energy, culture and international development.