The world needs more Greta Thunbergs, according to Tenzin Seldon, CEO and Co-founder of Kinstep. Speaking during the ‘Youth: The Cornerstone for Sustainable Development’ panel at the 2019 Knowledge Summit, Seldon stated that youth must be at the centre of structured dialogue in order to drive change.
According to H.E. Saeed Al Nazari, Director General at the Federal Youth Authority, UAE, youth in the nation are at the heart of strategies being developed to empower them now and in the future. “Enabling youth is part of daily life in the UAE; we compete with the world in terms of empowering young people. Emirati youth councils are formed across the country, with young UAE nationals working to develop strategies and find solutions to the challenges they face. They are working in partnership with government bodies, decision makers, and the private sector, so they can serve themselves and their country with their unique skills.”
Dr Thabet Al Nabulsi, Secretary General of Jordan’s Ministry of Youth, discussed how Jordan is committed to providing opportunities for youth within the Kingdom, directed by the National Youth Strategy. “The Strategy serves as a roadmap, connected to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and our national objectives,” he explained. “We have a clear vision, which is to see challenges as opportunities and to provide youth with the means to make a difference. Young people want to change the world and be an engine of change in their communities, and our National Youth Strategy provides them with the support they need to achieve that by mandating that everyone must work together to give youth their future and empowerment.”
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are central to the UAE’s approach to empowering youth. “The SDGs are an equation for building nations, they touch the core of every young person’s life,” explained H.E. Al Nazari. “No matter how big the challenge ahead of them, young people will always find a way to overcome them. The real challenge is how to empower them to do so.”
“It is critical that young people are at the centre of structured dialogue,” said Seldon. Using Greta Thunberg as an example, she explained that when a young person challenges an institution, it incites conflict, and conflict brings about change. “Young people are the cornerstone of the climate crisis, they can make a difference.”
Organised by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) under directives from MBRF Chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 2019 Knowledge Summit – held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from November 19-20 – bears the theme ‘Knowledge for Sustainable Development’, and is set to showcase relevant experiences and best practices that have helped countries on their development journey in various sectors.