Arab Youth Center Announces Inaugural Youth Hackathon To Combat Challenges Related To The COVID-19 Crisis In Arab Societies 13-May-2020

The Arab Youth Center has announced the launch of its inaugural Arab Youth Hackathon with an aim to enhance the contribution of Arab youth to finding solutions to the most pressing issues affecting the globe during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

The contest is to be held over a three-week period from May 12 to May 31 under the theme "Youth’s Role In Times Of Crises."

Organized in partnership with a group of Arab and international institutions that work with youth, the hackathon encourages tech-savvy Arab youth, up to the age of 35, to leverage innovative, technological solutions to help Arab societies overcome current pandemic-related hurdles.  

The event involves six challenges across six vital domains including education, economics, food security, social responsibility, healthcare, and employment. Interested participants may fill out the submission form and send in a three-minute video entry in Arabic, introducing themselves and their projects via the Arab Youth Center website. All entries must include a clear, sustainable and implementable technical idea and plan of action, and must be within one of the six proposed challenges.

The announcement of the final three winners will take place at a live event in the second week of June, with the three best ideas from across the six challenges being declared the winners. The panel of judges will include independent members and representatives of the institutions participating in organizing the hackathon and will supervise the evaluation of youth participations during the first week of June. The evaluation will be done on the basis of five basic criteria – originality, innovation, application, sustainability, and relevance to the challenge.

Established to realize the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to empower young Arabs and address their needs, the Arab Youth Center offers a unique platform to develop youth capabilities and support innovation and creativity among youth.

The Crown Prince Foundation of Jordan, the hackathon’s regional strategic partner, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Egypt, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Bahrain, and the Youth Public Authority in Kuwait, are participating in the first of its kind Arab youth hackathon which is being implemented in cooperation with Accenture, Arab Youth Hackathon’s innovation partner.

H.E. Shamma Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Vice President of the Arab Youth Center, said, “With the rise of distance learning and remote work options, and due to the exceptional health conditions the world is currently facing, technologically empowered youth are in prime position to innovation, create and contribute to leading safe exit efforts from the ongoing challenges through leveraging cutting-edge, innovative solutions. In doing so, they can help restore economic stability to our world, and activate future development paths following this global health crisis.”

Al Mazrouei also added, "Technology today is capable of ensuring equal opportunities for Arab youth on par with those available to their counterparts around the world. With their digital screens, they are able to share their inspiring ideas and innovative suggestions via cross-border creative workshops that bring together Arab youth from everywhere. Young people today have many tools at their disposal, from the research platforms to training and qualification programs available in multiple formats. This challenge is their opportunity to benefit in formulating successful strategies to transform problems into solutions and accelerate development paths for the future.”

H.E. Ayman Bin Tawfiq Al Moayed, Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs in Bahrain, said that that activities that bring Arab youth together through technology for a healthy exchange of ideas and innovations on the most effective ways to face challenges, are crucial in offering solutions to today’s global problems. He pointed out that Bahraini youth will especially play a key role in driving the implementation of their country’s preventive health measures.

Furthermore, H.E. Saeed Al-Nazari, Director General of the Federal Youth Authority, Chief Strategy Officer of the Arab Youth Center and member of the National Committee for the Sustainable Development Goals in the UAE, said, “The Arab Youth Hackathon is the first open platform of its kind for Arab youth to share its views and visions of the solutions required to overcome the challenges we are facing today. The careful selection of the six vital sectors -education, economics, food security, social responsibility, health, and employment– testify to the relevance and strategic impact the hackathon is set to have in finding viable solutions for sustainable development.” 

Dr. Tamam Mango, CEO of the Crown Prince’s Foundation in Jordan, added that the decision of the Crown Prince’s Foundation to support the Arab Youth Hackathon initiative as a regional strategic partner is aimed at stimulating the contribution of Jordan’s young people to development efforts to support the countries of the world in combatting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. "The capabilities and energies of Arab youth qualify them to shape creative ideas and solutions for various problems, based on their belief in those capabilities, as well as their confidence and keenness to contribute positively to the future," he added. 

“Empowering youth with capabilities to innovate and safeguard their communities has never been more crucial as we work to leverage technology to solve tomorrow’s problems today,” said Davide Capitanio, Innovation Strategy & Ventures Lead for Accenture in the Middle East. “We look forward to using our collective expertise to promote and accelerate creative solutions by tomorrow’s leaders in combatting this pandemic.”

Details of the Arab Youth Hackathon and application criteria can be found through the website of the Arab Youth Center via the link: