Blending youth and experience

Appointing a minister under the age of 25 will bring fresh perspectives to government

Running any enterprise – from a small business to a big country – requires vision, wisdom and experience. But to thrive, it also requires vitality and constant renewal. This country is fortunate to have had wise leaders who have stewarded its resources – both natural and human – to the benefit of the entire population. Our leaders have always protected the nation’s fundamentals but are always forward-looking.

This has been evident in the drive to diversify the economy, which began well before the recent drop in world oil prices and has been stepped up in its wake. And it is clear, too, in this week's call by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, for a final-year university student or recent graduate to serve alongside him and the other senior ministers in the federal cabinet to represent the interests of youth.

As Sheikh Mohammed noted, young people make up about half of the population and they are key to the UAE’s future success. “We are a young country that was built by young people and has reached an elevated global standing thanks to them,” he said. “They are the secret of its power and speed.”

To this end, he has asked universities to nominate three men and three women under 25 to be considered for this position. It would be a daunting task to share a table with, and offer advice to, the great nation builders of the Emirates, but it is an essential one. As the world changes, government needs to be nimble enough to change with it. Otherwise, there will inevitably be social trends or community needs that slip under the radar. A young person who is in touch with his or her own peer group, and aware of the broader national interests and direction, could make an inestimable contribution.

Sheikh Mohammed’s decision reflects a great faith in the young – one that echoes the belief of the late Sheikh Zayed that people are the country’s greatest asset. We are sure that there are many qualified candidates, and confident that the person who is appointed to the position will serve not only his or her own generation but also the entire country with distinction.