Pick up the pen and write your own narrative, UAE minister tells Arab youths

Shamma Al Mazrui challenged the audience at a WGS preview event to analyse the common narrative and how it can be changed

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Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Sun 12 Feb 2023, 11:50 PM

“It’s time for the Arab youth to pick up the pen and write their own story, the way they see fit for themselves.”

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development, advised the younger generation during the Arab Meeting for Young leaders, held a day before the World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai on Sunday.

Speaking at a gathering that included many ministers of youth and sports from around the Arab world, she said that following the first meeting held last year during Expo 2020 it was time to analyse the success and see how it can be transformed into a “common consciousness”.

“How can we, as youth, regain our understanding of the Arab world and our values? The answer isn’t easy but we tried to understand the difference between where we are today and what we hope for tomorrow," she said, adding that the difference between them is the “narrative”.

“This is the narrative through which we, as Arab youth, can regain our vision for the future. A narrative that tells the world our truth. A narrative that we tell with our voice and our intellect,” she said.

She emphasised the importance of this narrative because it not only explains how the youth see the world but also the story that helps them understand themselves. “It’s how we learn and how we make decisions. But what is the image that comes to mind when we talk about Arab youth? We must decide to focus on the story, to observe how we look at ourselves as Arabs and the narrative that others say about us,” she said.

She challenged the audience to analyse the common narrative and how it can be changed. “How was it created? Do we believe it and move on? Or do we all work together in rebuilding it so that it is a tangible reality that is linked to our identity, our reality and our values?” she asked, adding that they spoke to Arab youth and asked them whether they were protagonists of their own story or supporting actors.

“Arab youth are the ones who faced crises and conflicts with solidity, founded their projects amidst repeated economic crisis. They created a rocket to Mars. They are perseverant, generous, hard-working, ambitious and are connected to their values and language despite all challenges,” she told the audience, adding that today they are the writers of the story.

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