WGS 2023 in Dubai: Arab meeting for young leaders convenes to empower youth

It is important to preserve values and Arab identity and that the youth are proud of their civilisation, said Egyptian minister


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Mon 13 Feb 2023, 1:47 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:35 AM

Following the declaration of 2023 as the year for Arab Youth, Arab Youth and Sports ministers met for the first time during the Arab Meeting for Young Leaders event, which was held yesterday as part of the pre-summit session of the World Government Summit.

Dr Ashraf Sobhy, Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports and the Head of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Youth and Sports Minister said that the meeting was one of the most important meetings that support the objectives of the Arab Youth Year.

“The meeting is focused on supporting the Arab youth by working together, exchanging experience and knowledge to achieve work strategies that are fruitful and which makes the youth an important part of decision making,” he said.

Speaking to attendees, he said that the Arab youth have a common ambition and their ability to lead. “They have proven that they innovate whenever they get the chance and do their best,” he said.

Dr. Ashraf said that it is important to preserve values and Arab identity and that the Arab youth are proud of their Arab and Islamic civilisation. “There are youth all over the world leading initiatives and scientific establishments, and this is why their identity and the Arabic language are important,” he said.

He explained the importance of having an identity that is ‘fully formed’. “For the youth to have an identity and pride of their own language and culture means that we will have generations that are open to dialogue and positive interaction with the world that is different based on mutual respect and exchanging knowledge for comprehensive sustainable development,” he said.

Dr. Ashraf said that it was important to discuss solutions that will boost the identity of Arab Youth to support their competitiveness. “As we meet today, we discuss the youth’s sense of belonging to the Arab identity and the relationship between the youth and the Arabic language through listening to their thoughts and the visions of decision-makers at the same time,” he said adding that the Arab youth are capable of carrying out initiatives that make them at the forefront of all specialisations without letting go of their identity.

Also speaking at the meeting, Mohammed Al Nughaimish, author and CEO of Rawafid Management and PR Consultancy in Kuwait, said that it is important to know that award-winning people, such as recipients of the Nobel prizes, were hardworking youth. “They didn’t get their awards after spending their youth in coffee shops,” he said, citing Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian Nobel laureate who had a strict routine of reading and writing while carefully timing his time spent socializing with friends. “Routine and discipline, when used well, can have a positive effect,” he said.

He urged attendees, the ministers of youth and support, to regularly meet with the youth so that they could better understand them.

Dr Khaled Ghattas, head of Sanofi Vaccines in Saudi Arabia and well-known author and human behaviour scientist, said that it is important to research and understand Arab youth to have a unique narrative. He stressed that there must be a coherence between the youth and the government’s narrative. “Identity is accumulative,” he said.

One of the main ways to change people’s behaviour is to tell them to influence other behaviours. “I don’t tell the youth to be optimistic but to help others be optimistic,” he said, adding that when transmitting the message, they will be the first to hear it. “Turn the youth into a tool for change, not an objective,” he said.

The World Government Summit is held this year under the theme “Shaping Future Governments”. Government officials from around the world join global experts and decision-makers to discuss some of the most important issues on the agenda of governments worldwide.


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