MENA, a regional annual flagship event of the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, was held for the first time in Abu Dhabi from 26-28 October 2023. The event was organised by Abu Dhabi Global Shapers under the theme Shaping a Sustainable Arabia, and convened more than 150 international youth leaders, World Economic Forum delegates, and senior executives from the various government and private companies.

Aligning with the UAE Year of Sustainability, this year’s forum focused on the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability, emphasising the significant role of youth in driving sustainability in their communities. Activities around the three-day event included panel discussions, interactive workshops and visits to various cultural sites in Abu Dhabi.

Omar Aldhuhoori, event lead and member of Global Shapers Community Abu Dhabi, said: “Choosing Abu Dhabi as a host for the Shape MENA event is clear evidence of the consistency between the efforts made by youth and our wise leadership in the UAE, as they direct and harness energies and efforts for the benefit of all. Abu Dhabi, as a city and the capital of the UAE, combines ancient history and rich culture, which qualified it to host this event, in support of its journey as one of the most sustainable cities in the world. We are thrilled to be part of the positive change and social movements calling for sustainability. Cooperation between youth and governments has an impact that cannot be unseen, especially since youth in the UAE represent approximately 50 per cent of the general population.”

Mujeeb Khan, Impact officer of the Global Shapers Community Abu Dhabi, said: “Youth play a pivotal role in achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which is based on building a sustainable business environment in the global economy. We are proud of the positive change happening in many communities around the world, and we thank all the event’s participants, strategic partners, hosts and organisers for supporting this significant event.”