RIYADH, 4th May, 2017 (WAM) -- Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, addressed the UNESCO NGO Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday, saying, "The UAE’s initiatives encourage young people to play a part in their country’s development and the progress of the entire region."
Taking part in a panel discussion entitled, "Setting the Scene: Youth Engagement and its Potential for Social Change", Noura Al Kaabi went on to highlight the fact that since the country was founded, the UAE Government has been placing its young generations at the heart of all its policies. She went on to cite the Khalifa Fund as an example. The fund was launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to help develop local enterprises.
Elaborating on these youth-centric initiatives, Al Kaabi spoke about the Emirates Youth Council, which was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The council, the Minister explained, holds regular Youth Circles to inspire dialogue across a variety of areas for sustainable engagement with young people to shape innovative solutions for global challenges.
Al Kaabi called on the UN to adopt and expand the UAE’s Youth Circles initiative on a global scale, thereby providing an opportunity for dialogue for young people all around the world, where they can share their ambitions and aspirations for the future, and tackle the subjects that are of most concern to them.
"To invest in the future, we must not limit our thinking to tall buildings and megaprojects. We must, instead, invest in the youth. Investing in young citizens is a wise insurance policy for a better, brighter tomorrow," she asserted. "The youth are not only the leaders of the future, they are the ones who will build that future. Governments must put down the megaphone and start a conversation, [we] must reach out to young citizens, we cannot wait for them to come to us. We must reach them on their terms, where they feel most comfortable, and tackle the subjects that matter most to them."
"Besides educating young people and preparing them for their future occupations, governments must also entice them to take initiative and work not only for the financial returns, but for the sheer value of it," Noura Al Kaabi added, recommending that governments develop volunteer programmes that help them tap into the energy and enthusiasm of their young citizens, all the while allowing the young volunteers to gain invaluable experience that shapes their character and molds them into industrious, resourceful, and altruistic citizens.