ABU DHABI // The biggest challenge facing the Arab world is finding enough jobs for youths and engaging them through education.
“Young people left idle and with feelings of little purpose for the future become easy prey for evil,” said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
“We must truly pay attention to the varied needs of the youth of our region. We cannot ignore them.”
Sheikh Nahyan was addressing an audience of about 200 global political leaders, diplomats and senior public policy experts on Saturday for the opening day of the Beirut Institute Summit.
“Too often, we have not prepared them to be productive participants in the global society of the 21st century,” Sheikh Nahyan said of the region’s youth, adding the UAE’s efforts in educating its youth and empowering its women were worthy of emulating.
“Our educated women are doubling our strength as a nation. Until all Arab nations educated their girls and boys, their young women and their young men, we will be crippled competitors in a global society and a global economy.”
Hosted by regional think tank the Beirut Institute the summit was titled “Reconfiguring the Arab Region and its Global Space: Beyond Political Economy and Security Threats.”
It is meant to address and find solutions to problems related to the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf region, said Beirut Institute founder and executive chairwoman Raghida Dergham.
“We have opened the dialogue in Abu Dhabi and we will be presenting our recommendations to decision makers,” said Mrs Dargham.
“Why Beirut Institute? Because it is a podium for the new generation, a platform for them and they will be able to construct, to build and face and confront all those who want to destroy our image in the world.
“This is the generation of moderation, of innovation, of the forward-thinking approach. This is the generation who wants to live in a normal way. So we will be listening today to different intervention in that area.”
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki Al Faisal, co-chair of the Beirut Institute Summit, challenged the audience to come up with “viable solutions” and recommendations for the region’s conflicts and disputes.
“We look forward, God willing, for this meeting to be for the good of the region in order for us to agree on good recommendations that will enlighten our path to the good of this region,” Prince Turki said. “Because if we fail in this task, it means that we will not only fail in the interests of our region and humanity, but also we will have failed future generations. Our sole task is to be forward-looking.”
Minister of Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, said the summit offered “hope amidst the darkness that surrounds this region”.
“There are many issues we are facing – be it political, economical, social – but what is important for us is our capability of conversing with others,” said Mr Al Mansouri.
“Passivity might lead to destruction. We have to be proactive, we have to be active and positive in dealing with various issues.”
He said that cooperation and unity would be the key for the region’s economic success and stability.
“We have to go beyond the borders of our countries and the Arab countries of the Gulf to a whole integrated Arab system,” Mr Mansouri said.
“You benefit from our success stories and we benefit from your success stories. We have to move toward achieving that goal. We cannot succeed unless we unite.
“Individually we will not succeed, collectively we will. We are in a dire need of recommendations that will contribute to the advancement and development of our region.”