Celebrating Great Arab Minds: An idea whose time has come

Plans underway to collaborate at a global level for greater exchange of ideas



Sheikh Mohammed recently announced a new initiative to identify and support 1,000 Great Arab Minds. – Wam
Sheikh Mohammed recently announced a new initiative to identify and support 1,000 Great Arab Minds. – Wam

A nation prospers when it endorses gifted minds. Societies need dialogue that spark conversations and shape discourse. The last decade has seen important shifts in the UAE, ones where Arab youth are encouraged constantly to come forward and showcase their talent while sharpening their skills.

This is a testament to the country’s commitment to empower the youth. Recently, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced a new initiative to identify and support 1,000 Great Arab Minds in the fields of physics, mathematics, coding, research and economics.

While the Museum of the Future will serve as the headquarters for bringing together the talent, plans are underway to collaborate at a global level for greater exchange of ideas. The initiative is one of the grandest that’s been announced in recent years, which also means the search for the brilliant minds will be meticulous.

A committee comprising Emirati ministers will be scouting and screening the talent. The announcement, made on the occasion of Sheikh Mohammed’s Accession Day anniversary, is significant in that the five-year plan is supported by a Dh100 million fund to further research and development, and will encourage local talent to come forward and mark their presence.

In recent years, Dubai has extended enormous support to promote young Arab minds in a larger endeavour to create a footprint for them globally. This is important not simply for the emirate, but the region at large, and makes an important statement about the talent available here. The Great Arab Minds is an extension of that ethos.

Last year in July, the Vice-President had made an impactful announcement to support one million Arab coders with the aim of establishing 1,000 digital companies in five years and increasing investment in startups to Dh4 billion from Dh1.5 billion. The programme also sought to grant golden visas to 100,000 best coders. The next phase of this National Programme for Coding will see coders from around the world finding solutions to 100 key areas of concern in health, technology and economy.

A beautiful marriage of innovation with amalgamation, the initiative won applause for its foresight. Such initiatives are not simply limited to science and technology, the endeavour has also been to look within and expand the worldview.

The Arab Reading Challenge, launched by Sheikh Mohammed, is an initiative that invites youngsters to invest themselves into reading. The idea of ‘catching them young’ has been central to the Arab Reading Challenge that essentially looks at encouraging Arab school children to read and even offer lucrative grants and prizes to support their reading habits. An Arab footprint in every important aspect of modern world — it is an idea whose time has come. The seeds of a better future have been sown.


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