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Emirati Student for World Economic Forum

Staff Reporter / 16 May 2009

DUBAI — An Emirati student from a local college will participate in this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East at a Dead Sea venue from this weekend.

Ibrahim Al Bastaki from Dubai Men’s College is one of the 18 students from different Arab countries and the UK, who will meet with the region’s business and political leaders and discuss a range of issues.

Al Bastaki, a 21 year old civil engineering student, and other members will take part in panel discussions, jury sessions, interactive lunches, and at Q&A sessions with leaders from the region.

An active member of the Emirati community, Ibrahim has served as a member of the student council and is active in voluntary organisations. He is also a vocalist with Mawal Band — a group which seeks to promote culture through music.

The students, members of the British Council’s Global Changemakers network,  will share their experiences at the WEF with a wider audience including schools and students worldwide.

The discussions will focus on the ‘Implications of the Global Economic Crisis for the Middle East: Home-grown Strategies for Success’, besides debating on a range of topics including opportunities for women in business, technology and innovation, e-media and social networking and role models for leadership.

This year the young participants at the WEF will also be reporting live from the event.

They will talk to other youth across the region through use of mobile messaging and live blogs. Friends of the Global Changemakers can follow their stories on the website (http://www.global-changemakers.net/) , through twitter on CONTACT, and 7iber.com.

As part of the British Council’s pioneering Global Changemakers initiative, the participating youth will represent the voice of their generation with Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt, Kuwait, and Qatar and the UK being represented.

The Global Changemakers are a select group of youth, aged between 16 and 25, who have demonstrated a significant track record of achievement in their local communities through social entrepreneurship, community activism, and voluntary work.  The forum will convene over 1,200 business, government and civil society leaders in Jordan.  In the week preceding the forum, the young people gathered in Amman for four days of intensive workshops, organised by the British Council, with experts and policymakers so they will effectively represent the millions of youth of the region.

Experts include Dr Marwan Muasher, Vice-President, World Bank talking about the Arab Peace Initiative, Newsweek editor Chris Dickey on reporting from the region, entrepreneur Fadi Ghandour talking about innovation and enterprise in the region, media specialist and Director of the Jordan Bureau for the Agence France Press and Randa Habib who will hold running sessions on communications.

“The 20 young people who attended the WEF last year in May in Sharm El Sheikh brought a lot of passion, commitment and vibrancy to the meeting. The youth dimension is so critical in the Middle East, and without their involvement this element would have been a major gap in the Forum’s multistakeholder model in the region,” said Dr Sherif Diwany, Director WEF in the Middle East preeti@khaleejtimes.com 

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