Dubai: Emirati youth were encouraged to actively participate in political development in the UAE by involving themselves in the electoral process in the Federal National Council (FNC) elections, during discussions at the ‘Youth Circle’ on Thursday.
Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, addressed a group of Emirati youth at Al Etihad Museum, calling on them to either exercise their right to vote, or contest as a candidate in the FNC elections.
“The participation of the youth in the electoral process is essential to start a dialogue about the cultural and social realities of the UAE. Their participation enriches our parliamentary experience and allows them to choose the candidate that best represents them,” he said.
Gargash said that youth’s participation would also allow for better representation of the people, and strengthen the sense of patriotism, national duty, and dedication to public interest.
He described the young Emiratis as individuals who “have the will, the knowledge, and the culture to carry out the vision” of the UAE’s forward-thinking leadership. He said youth today are well aware of the country’s issues and are ideally positioned to continue its accelerated development.
“Political participation is a value rooted in the cultural heritage of the UAE and dating back to when the rulers of the emirates abided by the concept of ‘Shura,’ seeking counsel regarding the issues that concern citizens and exploring solutions and politics to meet their political, social and economic needs,” said Gargash.
He referred to the Empowerment Programme announced by His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE on the 34th UAE National Day in 2005, stating that it set a clear road map to ensure the country has a bright future.
Gargash also emphasised the importance of empowering the FNC so that it can fully assume its role as a support unit for executive authorities and a link between them and the people.
Recalling the three UAE elections in 2006, 2011 and 2015, Gargash said the successful experiences are a reflection of the Empowerment Programme’s core values. “They have also helped establish a culture of volunteering and participation in which young people were at the heart of the whole electoral process,” he added.
Gargash also touched upon the FNC’s role in the UAE’s foreign policy. He said the council had successfully formed channels to influence international public opinion by developing and strengthening relations with parliamentary bodies around the world. He listed the values of tolerance, peace and international cooperation as some of the FNC’s main ideals to resolve issues.
Moving on to the social and cultural movements in the UAE, Gargash referred to a time before the federal system was put in place. “There was an imbalance created, and that was through the emergence of economic and social development that lacked political development,” he said.
Gargash told attendees that Emirati youth had a reasonability based on balance, and advised them to not only depend on their wealth and culture, but also be open to new advancements and technologies.
“Life is a balance. We learn from the new while keeping our values and culture intact. It is important to practice the values of being tolerant, humble, and confident especially in a diverse society that includes hundreds of nationalities,” concluded Gargash.
The ‘Youth Circle’ is an initiative that gives young Emiratis the chance to address issues regarding their future. Organised by the Emirates Youth Council in collaboration with various government bodies, the event also serves as a platform to discuss the issues facing the broader UAE community, and to propose solutions to challenges that hinder its development.