Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

Greatest threat to the world? It depends on where you live.

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2014 has been a tumultuous year in international affairs. From the conflict in Ukraine, to horrific bloodshed in Syria and Iraq, the spreading Ebola epidemic in West Africa and continued weakness in the European economy, numerous world crises have given people plenty to be worried about.

In spring of this year, even before many of these headline events took place, we surveyed people in 44 countries and asked about the greatest threat to the world. Here are 5 key takeaways from the new report:

1 Infectious disease, AIDS, top concerns in Sub-Saharan Africa

Prior to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa becoming a high-profile international story, a median of 32% across the seven African nations polled feared infectious disease as the top danger. Many of these countries have high prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS and have suffered through multiple disease epidemics in the last decade. However, other problems also worry Africans. In Nigeria, where religious strife is exacerbated by the Boko Haram terrorist group, more say religious and ethnic hatred is the world’s greatest threat (38%).

Across the seven Middle Eastern countries surveyed, a median of 34% see religious and ethnic hatred as the world’s top threat. This includes 58% of Lebanese, a country divided by religion and bordering both Syria and Israel. Given the history of religious violence in the region, the result might not be surprising. Yet, since the question was last asked in 2007, and religious and ethnic conflicts have played out in Syria, Iraq and beyond, fears have increased significantly in the region, including Lebanon (+19 percentage points), Egypt (+18), Turkey (+9) and Jordan (+6).


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