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The Next Generation of Gulf Leaders

The Kids are Alright

Heavy fog rolls by early in the morning near the Dubai Marina November 21, 2007.  Steve Crisp / Reuters

After years of leadership by octogenarians, the Gulf Arab states are getting younger rulers. On February 10, the ruler of Dubai announced a new Emirati cabinet that includes eight new ministers with an average age of 38. The youngest appointee, appropriately heading the Ministry of Youth Affairs, is just 22. A few weeks earlier, the 35-year-old emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, named a fellow member of Generation Y to lead the nation’s foreign ministry—Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who is also just 35. The face of Gulf leadership is changing, and it is getting decidedly younger.

Although most regional heads of state are long in the tooth, gone are the days where Gulf leadership is entirely the domain of the aged. Now, it is not uncommon for the Gulf states to name crown princes and key ministers who are in their 40s and 50s And since the age gap between

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