This month The Middle East celebrates its 40th anniversary. In May 1974, Tunisian-born Afif Ben Yedder launched the first edition of the magazine from London. In a letter to those early readers, Ben Yedder acknowledged that several good magazines on the area already existed but noted how “they tend to specialise in particular aspects of the area, leaving gaps in their coverage, or are identified with the country they are published in.”
Publishing in London ensured The Middle East would retain optimum editorial independence, not obligated to or ‘in the pocket’ of any regional government
During the intervening years, the region has gone from strength to strength, encouraged by a number of inspirational and visionary leaders. There have also been set backs and tragedies, not least wars and invasions, but nothing has stood in the way of progress and development. Where once there was only sand, today there are vibrant cities, where once there were fishing communities and camels, today there are deep-water ports and industrial zones.
While The Middle East magazine is wholly dependent on sales and advertising, we still believe that dedicating a magazine to purely business – as most advertisers would prefer – is to paint only a small section of the whole picture. Politics will determine how business is conducted and how fortunes can be won, made and lost.
In the UAE, for example, the government has bent over backwards to build and maintain an environment in which investors can feel secure and confident and they come, in their thousands, bringing with them their millions, to do just that. Meanwhile, in Libya, while political uncertainty prevails, only the boldest are ready to put a toe back in the water. Business never has and never will exist in a vacuum.
We continue to believe that the most precious resource the Middle East region possesses is not its oil or gas but its people, those present and past generations that have built its proud culture and heritage, and the upcoming ones that will be the architects of its future.
The region is still on the cusp of releasing its full potential. For the most part, the ground rules and the infrastructure have been laid down. New generations of graduates are emerging from the region’s universities and colleges to replace the skilled expatriates that once dominated local workforces. A new era of hope is around the corner. After 40 years in the business, The Middle East magazine is proud to retain its title of being the region’s best selling English language magazine.
And, as we enter the decade that will take us up to half a century of publishing, we very much hope you will be with us.
The Middle East Magazine posts a small selection of articles monthly on the website. However, to read the magazine in full you can subscribe to receive the magazine by mail details of which can be found on the home page of the website www.themiddleeastmagazine.com
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