Arab Youth Center, in partnership with Misk Foundation, has hosted the Next Gen Leaders for Social Impact: Redefining the Role of Youth event in Abu Dhabi, discussing the importance of youth in building a sustainable future and driving social impact.
In conjunction with the upcoming International Youth Day on 12 August, the event welcomed members from various programmes within the Arab Youth Center and hosted a conference titled The Role of Youth Leadership in Achieving Sustainable Community Development.
The conference was attended by Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development and Vice Chairman of the Arab Youth Center, as well as Majid Al Nuaimi, the Acting Head of Youth Sector at the Ministry of Culture and Youth. This event coincided with the unveiling of the sixth edition of the Leadership and Young Talent Development Program, an initiative by Misk Foundation aiming to foster community development in multiple areas.
The Arab Youth Center, with an emphasis on youth empowerment and capacity-building in the fields of positive citizenship and community service, is committed to fostering robust partnerships and collaborations between youth and organisations targeting a profound societal impact in the region. The showcased youth projects ranged from small to medium-sized initiatives to more ambitious endeavors that tackle intricate social issues, all in line with sustainable development objectives.
In her keynote address, Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, said: "On International Youth Day, we celebrate the core values displayed by Arab youth in their unwavering service to their communities and nations. Such values emanate from their profound love, dedication, and ties to their cultural and civilisational roots. Today, we laud the exceptional Arab individuals who paint a promising picture of our youth's capabilities and their earnest aspirations to uplift their countries and augment our international standing.
"Guided by His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Arab Youth Center remains steadfast in its mission to work alongside youth, amplifying their achievements, elevating their voices, and championing their cause on the global stage. As the UAE prepares to host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), we proudly proclaim 2023 as the Year of Arab Youth, recognising them as the invaluable assets of our nations and region and the leading architects of growth and development."
Majid Al Nuaimi said: "Today, on International Youth Day, we convene to discuss the pivotal role of youth leadership in development, in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation Misk and its Misk Fellowship Programme. This aims to sensitise our youth to sustainable development challenges and their pivotal roles in crafting the future."
Majid Al Nuaimi confirmed that the Arab world holds untapped youth potential and expertise on the brink of discovery.
"We keenly await their emergence from this premier platform at the Arab Youth Center, a conduit for many of our youth's aspirations. Our youth, having weathered numerous challenges, have evolved into an ambitious group poised to take on substantial responsibilities. It's imperative to furnish them with an environment conducive to their vision, bolstering their dreams, for dreams thrive only in the midst of hope."
Al Nuaimi underscored the leadership's vision, which prioritises the voices and ambitions of the youth. By arming them with knowledge, skill enhancement, and rolling out youth-centric programmes, they are better composed to steer their societies towards a brighter, sustainable future.
The conference explored a spectrum of topics, including the pivotal role of Arab youth in pioneering initiatives that drive societal progress, the essence of forging meaningful collaborations, and the gravity of having real-world youth-led endeavours. For such initiatives to take root, a collective endeavour from both youth and diverse developmental organisations, alongside governments, is imperative to craft a nurturing environment.
Speakers accentuated the pressing need for impactful youth initiatives and the creation of avenues for them through youth-centric entities and institutions. This entails capacity-building, curating programmes in line with the evolving needs of youth and society, and fostering an environment where youth can innovatively and creatively realise their visions.
Discussions also revolved around sustainable development, its facets, and key success metrics. The intersection of artificial intelligence, youth, and development goals, as well as the criticality of educational outcomes as catalysts of change, was explored. The dialogue also touched upon the challenges youth face in implementing community initiatives and the potential synergies to attain collective societal objectives.
The conference concluded with recommendations to overhaul educational curriculums to resonate with future demands, spurring youth to independently opt for fitting educational streams, propelling them to be influential figures within their communities.