Arab Youth Priorities Conference Highlights Ambitions of Young People in Arab World
- Draws Participation of Arab Youth Ministers
- 7,000 Young People from 21 Arab Countries Participated in Arab Youth Priorities Survey
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 11 August 2020 – On the eve of the International Youth Day, the Arab Youth Center (AYC), headed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, inaugurated the first Arab Youth Priorities Conference. The event was held under the patronage of the Arab League and with the participation of the United Nations, Arab youth ministers, and representatives of youth sectors from the Arab world.
The conference announced the results of the Arab Youth Priorities Survey that was conducted by AYC and included the participation of 7,000 young people from 21 Arab countries who chose stability, education and healthcare as the top Arab youth priorities.
The conference, held via online video conferencing witnessed the participation of His Excellency Dr Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, Her Excellency Dr Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General, Head of Social Affairs sector at the Arab League, and Her Excellency Dr Dena Assaf, United Nations Resident Coordinator for the UAE.
Also present at the conference were His Excellency Dr Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports in Egypt and Head of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Youth and Sports Ministers, His Excellency Ayman Tawfiq Al-Moayad, Minister of Youth and Sports in Bahrain, His Excellency Dr Fares Braizat, Minister of Youth in Jordan, His Excellency Dr Taleb Ould Sid´Ahmed, Minister of Employment, Youth and Sports in Mauritania, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al-Mutairi, Director General of the Public Authority for Youth in Kuwait, and Nadia Benali, Secretary General of the Youth and Sports Sector at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in Morocco.
His Excellency Dr Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, said in his opening speech: “I thank His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of AYC, and AYC’s employees for developing this important study that included the opinions of a wide segment of our Arab societies. This initiative will help us listen to the voices of the youth and their priorities in their own words, not as we choose to impose or establish them.”
In his opening address, His Highness Sheikh Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, Chairman of the UAE Football Association, and Vice President of the Arab Youth Center, said: “The capabilities of our Arab youth are enormous. We have learned that investing in the youth will yield many great and sustainable results, and they are our true capital. AYC’s study offers a clear and data-driven indication of the priorities of the Arab youth at present from their own point of view.”
Her Excellency Shamma bint Sohail Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Vice President of the Arab Youth Center, said: “Listening to youth is our methodology. Three years ago, the idea of the Arab Youth Center was born from a dialogue in which His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan listened to a group of Arab youth as part of the activities of the World Government Summit. He was keen to translate their ideas and ambitions into reality and his enthusiasm led to the establishment of AYC.”
For her part, Her Excellency Dr Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General, Head of Social Affairs sector at Arab League, said: “The study highlights the opinions of this broad segment of the society – the region’s youth. We pay close attention to these opinions, as a regional Arab organization that firmly believes in the importance of collective Arab action as a constructive vehicle for the future. AYC’s role is important for its services to the Arab youth. These priorities require cooperation to offer young people an opportunity to find solutions that can help them realize their ambitions.”
Her Excellency Dr Dena Assaf, United Nations Resident Coordinator for the UAE, stressed that Arab youth priorities intersect to a large extent with the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations for the year 2030. She called for the adoption of a holistic approach to ensure the participation of all social segments, especially the youth and people of determination, because of their effective contributions to the future. She also highlighted the role of women in development since they are peacemakers, builders of nations and inspirers of people.
His Excellency Dr Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports in Egypt, expressed his appreciation for AYC’s efforts in the field of youth engagement in the Arab world. He noted that Egypt gives young people all the attention that is their right due to their essential role in building the future and enhancing the competitiveness of the economy. He pointed out the importance of youth participation in all comprehensive development paths. The minister highlighted the efforts of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports in launching a set of programs and projects, including hosting youth conferences, to achieve youth leadership in development efforts.
His Excellency Ayman Tawfiq Al-Moayad, Minister of Youth and Sports in Bahrain, said: “Our priorities in youth affairs have been completely revamped. These priorities have been outlined as part of the National Program for the Development of the Youth and Sports Sector. We have adopted the mechanism of periodic surveys and focus more closely on communicating with youth while also adopting basic performance indicators. The program was updated to build on six priorities - security and stability, giving youth the confidence that their voice is heard in society, enabling them to feel supported by their community, ensuring they are our partners, that they have our trust, and most importantly, giving the youth a sense of hope that their present is better than their past and their future is sure to be better than their present.”
His Excellency Dr Taleb Ould Sid´Ahmed, Minister of Employment, Youth and Sports in Mauritania, stated that the President of Mauritania personally met with young people to address their concerns, and that Mauritania places a high priority on entrepreneurship; alongside constructing sports facilities to accommodate the youth. He added: “We launched an initiative to create a culture of entrepreneurship. The Ministry of Employment, Youth and Sports introduced the ‘My Project My Future’ initiative to help aspiring young entrepreneurs. The initiative is now in its final stage to select the best projects, provide concessional funding for 3,000 small enterprises, as well as support entrepreneurs and train them in project management.
For his part, His Excellency Dr Fares Braizat, Minister of Youth and Sports in Jordan, said: “Arab youth have proven themselves today as a global intellectual and creative force through their local, regional, and international achievements. They competed with major countries through their ideas, projects, and actions to address many important topics and issues; translating challenges into opportunities."
Braizat noted that young Arab role models prove how responsible they are to the whole world every single day, and commended the Arab Youth Priorities Survey launched by AYC within the context of the Arab Youth Priorities Conference.
Meanwhile, His Excellency Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi, Director General of Kuwait’s Youth Public Authority, explained that the Kuwait Vision 2035 aims to transform Kuwait into a regional and global financial and commercial hub that attracts investment. He noted that the vision prioritizes human capital, and considers it a crucial asset.
He called for celebrating Arab youth every day, as they have achieved real successes and have proven their mettle to the whole world. He added that they only need an opportunity to advance and develop Arab societies.
Nadia Benali, Secretary General at the Department of Youth and Sports in Morocco’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, said that AYC’s activities and programs have always built bridges that enable young people to exchange experiences and open up to different cultures. She applauded the Arab Youth Priority Survey, which provides a strategic database for decision-makers.
She emphasized the great interest and care His Majesty King Mohammed VI allocates to youth issues in Morocco. Under his directive, the Ministry offers multiple opportunities and services to Moroccan youth, through launching programs that integrate young people into social life, providing social spaces for youth, and opening doors to collaborating with various youth initiatives locally and internationally.
Youth Priorities Platform
For his part, His Excellency Saeed Al Nazari, Director General of the Federal Youth Authority and Chief Strategy Officer at AYC, reiterated the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to align all AYC’s initiatives and projects with the priorities of Arab youth.
Al Nazari added that the results of the Arab Youth Priorities Survey are accessible to every official and all those working in the youth sector, as they are the ones focused on building their future, their homelands’ future, and in serving their societies with all their talent and energy.
He drew upon several examples as part of the ‘Youth Development Delegates in the Arab Region’ program, organized by AYC in cooperation with UNDP, and said: "There are hundreds, even thousands, of these initiators among us who have made their opinions clear through the Arab Youth Priorities Survey."
Al-Nazari noted: "The equation for success in working with young people is aligning with their priorities, and ensuring we connect the directions of our departments with their needs. As institutions and young people, we should provide solutions together to the challenges young people in the Arab world face today."