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Eye of Riyadh
Culture & Education | Wednesday 16 November, 2016 6:02 am |

Youth in focus as global thinkers meet in Riyadh

The MiSK Global Forum opened here on Tuesday, with the aim of creating opportunities for young Saudis by unleashing their positive power.
The forum hosted panel discussions and workshops featuring some of the world’s brightest thinkers, helping inspire Arab youth to become global citizens and explore entrepreneurship and innovation in the fast-moving digital age.
Organized by the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) under the patronage of the Deputy Crown Prince, the two-day maiden forum formally began at the Four Seasons hotel with the Saudi National Anthem followed by an engaging session on “The Youth of Saudi Arabia”. 

Mohannad Aboudayah, founder and CEO of Isterlab, Mounira Jamjoom, co-founder and CEO of Emkan, Lateefa Alwaalan, CEO of Yatooq Coffee and Albara Alohali, chief storyteller at Baralog took to the stage to share their experiences of innovation and entrepreneurship.
They described what their initiatives involve, their views for future incentives for Saudi youth to participate in building their homeland in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, and how they are contributing and shaping the future of the Kingdom.
Aboudayah, who has lost his eyesight, interacted with audience, motivating them in order to unleash their potential and empower them to advance the National Transformation Program (NTP-2020) and Saudi Vision 2030. 

In inspiring words to those who have lost their eyesight, he said, “let black glass not… hold you back, refraining from making great endeavors.”
The panel was followed by a video address by Bill Gates, Microsoft cofounder and co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
He congratulated the MiSK Foundation team for organizing the forum, and highlighted the importance of technology in building a bright future for the Kingdom as envisioned under Saudi Vision 2030.
Gates also applauded Saudi youth for their keen interest in innovation and praised the Vision 2030 plan for working on diversifying the society at large. 

He said his foundation and MiSK are working closely on signing a MoU to further develop the non-profit sector for value addition and philanthropic services.
He also made a call to the Arab youth to join social services exuding hope that they will work to help eradicate poverty and diseases worldwide.
Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG, made a keynote address on new ways of innovation to cultivate and harbor innovative thinking and entrepreneurship.
He also discussed how startups can obtain funding and support for their ventures to promote innovations and entrepreneurship in the digital age. 

A brainstorming session titled “Own the Trendway: Anticipating and Shaping the Trends” featured Jose Manuel Barroso, non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Jacques Attali, founder and president of Positive Planet, Patrice Caine, CEO of Thales Group, and Ahmad Alhendawi, UN secretary general’s envoy on youth.
The panelists discussed the Saudi Vision 2030, United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development targets, along with other national and regional transformation plans.
Citing statistics from the UN, Alhendawi argued that the transformation programs in the Arab region have a huge potential and could be a game changer. 

He also thanked the MiSK Foundation for the initiative to empower young people in the Arab world to become global citizens and lead the way for sustainable development in the region.
He said the word “Shabab” – ‘the youth’ in Arabic – had been misused by some, notably the Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabab.“I took this opportunity to urge upon Arab youth to take back the word for positive works,” he underlined.
Alhendawi added that National Youth Policies (NYPs) of the UN in the region will continue.
“If any government agency wish to forge ties with the UN, we are there to help,” he said. 

The NYPs are a declaration and commitment of the priorities, directions and practical support that a country intends to give to the development of its young men and women, and defines the place and role of youth in society and the responsibility of society to youth. 
Speaking on the occasion Attali rejected the “clash of civilization theory”, saying Europe has no such clash. 

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