Abu Dhabi: The progress of nations is decided by the youth, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the presentation ceremony of the Emirates Award for the Arabian Gulf Youth (EAAGY), in the capital on Wednesday.
Organised by the Emirates Foundation, the EAAGY, now in its second year, encourages young Gulf Arabs to present innovative solutions to solve regional challenges.
The 2015 edition of the competition had more than 200 submissions from across the Gulf region, of which 15 were shortlisted to pick the top three winning ideas.
“The youth are the driving force within our nation, they are leading Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Masdar City, they are leading our airports and they are the ones who gave their lives to protect our nation,” Shaikh Abdullah said.
Shaikh Abdullah added that young people must not be overlooked or ignored in society, citing the example of famous scientist Albert Einstein. “Einstein was 26 years old when he wrote his Theory of Relativity, and after 10 years, he completed the theory which changed the progress of humanity,” he told the audience. “A nation that values young people and does not underestimate their hopes is the nation that will contribute to history,” he added.
Despite the challenges being faced by the region, Shaikh Abdullah said he was confident that young Arabs would be able to respond to them. “If we recall the lives of our grandfathers, they were full of challenges, cultural, social, and political challenges no less [demanding] than ours,” he said.
“The opportunities available to the young people today are far more than the what were available to young people 50 years ago,” Shaikh Abdullah added.
The first place winner of the Emirates Award for the Arabian Gulf Youth in first place was the diea project ‘Glowork: Women Employment Organisation’ by Khalid Al Khudair from Saudi Arabia. The organisation is the Middle East’s first female recruitment agency, and was created to address the high degree of female unemployment in Saudi Arabia.
“We want to bridge the gap between female job seekers and the private sector,” Al Khudair told Gulf News.
“As part our organisation, we have created a virtual office which enables women to work [virtually] if they live in rural areas. We also have an online recruitment platform, and offer specific career counseling for women,” Al Khudair added.
Second place winner was the UAE-based project idea launched by Slices, ‘Your Wellness Companion’ by Faisal Al Hammadi and Hamad Al Hammadi.
“Our idea is to harness smart technology. Through a smart watch, a child will be able to pay for his school meals instead of using cash. This prevents theft, and bullying,” Faisal told Gulf News.
The smart device will not only allow the child to buy items, it will also have other functions such as monitoring the child’s diet and activity levels. “This device extracts information about what the child is eating and their activity levels,” Faisal said.
“The end result will see a dashboard that displays the student’s activity and nutrition levels, giving parents an overview of their child’s nutrional habits,” he added. The third prize went to a Special Needs Inclusion Application by Nouf Hammad from Saudi Arabia. The use of technology in autism treatment has grown in recent years, and this inclusion project aims to develop aN app to help affected children communicate more readily. The app uses the front camera to interact with the child, and engages them with a series of educational and entertaining videos. It will be developed in Arabic and other languages to maximise its reach and appeal.