His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah addresses the 'Investing in the Future' conference. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sharjah: Youth in the region must be saved from extremism and given job opportunities, the ‘Investing in the Future’ conference was told on Wednesday morning in Sharjah.

The comments came during the opening remarks by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Dr Shaikh Sultan told delegates he hopes the event’s sessions will produce suggestions for the most effective ways to prevent young people from falling victim to extremism, which he said is “destroying our societies in the region”.

Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Nadia Murad, and Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid at the 'Investing in the Future' conference. Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

He promised schoolchildren attending the event and the youth in general that “we are here for you”. Dr Shaikh Sultan also thanked The Big Heart Foundation for organising the third edition of the event, which is held every two years.

'Greater purpose' 

Also speaking during the opening session was Iraqi activist Nadia Murad (pictured below), who is the Nobel Peace Laureate for 2018. She has told the audience that the international community has failed to reconstruct the Sinjar province that is home to the Yazidi ethnic minority that she belongs to.

Murad, who has taken captive and abused by the Daesh terror group, said her survival carries a greater purpose, to be a voice for women and minorities.     

The conference, which ends tomorrow, is also seeing talks by UAE ministers and top officials from various countries. This edition is focused on ‘Youth – Crisis, Challenges and Development Opportunities’.

The Big Heart Foundation is a Sharjah-based international humanitarian body and focuses on humanitarian and development challenges in the MENA region.

More than 600 international officials, experts and youth are meeting at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah to discuss youth-related issues in the MENA region, especially those that emerge from war, conflict and natural disasters.

The second day of the event will bring to the fore the aspect of youth participation in developmental challenges through specific discussions on ‘Youth Social Media and Creating Positive Change’; ‘Youth and Climate Change’; ‘Inspirational Session – Rally Team’; and conclude with a youth-led discussion – ‘Youth Participation in MENA Development’.