The UAE celebrated International Youth Day last week with enthusiasm and a commitment to empowering young people and recognising their contributions to society. Placing a significant emphasis on its youth population, the leadership understands their potential as drivers of innovation, growth, and positive change.
The country’s Vision 2050 emphasises the importance of nurturing a competitive knowledge-based economy, and young people are considered a crucial component of this vision. As a result, the UAE has implemented policies and programs that promote youth education, skill development, employment opportunities, and civic engagement.
Various government agencies, non-governmental organisations, educational institutions, and youth-focused organisations collaborated to organise events and activities on International Youth Day. These initiatives were designed to foster dialogue, encourage skill-building, and provide platforms for young people to express their opinions and ideas on important issues.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering youth in the UAE. Under his leadership, numerous initiatives and policies have been introduced to support the growth, development, and active participation of young people in various aspects of society.
Read more by Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi
Here are some ways in which the UAE has empowered the youth in the recent years:
Education and Skill Development: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has placed a significant emphasis on education and skill development for the youth. He has supported the establishment of world-class universities and research universities in the UAE. These universities offer a range of academic programs and research opportunities to equip young citizens with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in various fields.
Youth Empowerment Programmes: The UAE has launched various youth empowerment programs that focus on leadership development, entrepreneurship, and innovation that provide platforms for young people to contribute their ideas, take on leadership roles, and participate in decision-making processes.
Youth Engagement and Participation: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed recognises the importance of engaging youth in shaping the future of the UAE. He has encouraged youth participation in government initiatives and policy discussions, ensuring that their voices are heard and considered in matters that affect the nation.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The UAE has supported initiatives to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among young Emiratis. Initiatives like the Mohamed bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations, startAD and Abu Dhabi SME hub to provide mentorship, funding, and resources to help young entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into successful ventures.
Community and Social Engagement: The UAE has promoted community service and social engagement among youth. The “Emirates Volunteer” program encourages young people to actively participate in volunteer activities, contributing to various social and environmental causes.
Sports and Fitness Initiatives: Recognizing the importance of physical well-being and sports in youth development by supporting programs and facilities that encourage young people to lead active and healthy lifestyles. The UAE has hosted international sports events and invested in state-of-the-art sports infrastructure.
Global Collaboration: The UAE has also extended his efforts to empower youth beyond the nation’s borders. The UAE has participated in international youth forums, collaborations, and partnerships to share experiences, knowledge, and best practices in youth empowerment.
Governments, organisations, and communities must assess the needs of the young populations and create initiatives to address their needs. By acknowledging the potential of youth and involving them in decision-making processes, societies can tap into their innovative ideas and perspectives, fostering positive change and sustainable development.
It’s important to recognise that young people play a crucial role in shaping the future of our world. Their energy, creativity, and passion can lead to transformative advancements in various fields, from technology and science to arts and social progress.
As the world continues to evolve, celebrating our youth reminds us of the imperative to empower our future and enable them to contribute positively to communities, nations, and the global society as a whole.
Dr. Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi is the Founder and President of the Al Suwaidi Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Abu Dhabi Arts Society (ADAS), and Advisory Council Member of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership