The premier edition of the GOV Youth Summit supported by the MiSK Foundation and Ministry of Sports Saudi Arabia in Dubai on March 2 and 3, 2020 came to a close with some conventional and many innovative recommendations to encourage participation from the youth in the GCC workplace.
The strong line-up of experts debated and discussed challenges, offered solutions, provided insights and deliberated issues of concern for the youth as well as generations X and Y in the workforce.
The Summit brought together not only young employees and youth leaders but also regional policymakers who shared their views on strategies that will shape the future of the youth workforce in the region.
The first panel discussion of the conference led by dignatories such as His Excellency Jaber Saeed Al Lamki, Acting Director General at the National Media Council UAE, Ahmed Taleb Al Shamsi, Acting Chief Executive Officer at Emirates Foundation UAE, and Eng. Ghazi Al Shahrani, Deputy Minister for Localization at the Ministry of Human Resources & Social Development Saudi Arabia outlined the GCC policy and strategy to encourage productivity and tackle unemployment. The panel agreed that the Governments in the region have shown a commitment to the young future workforce.
The new generation of job seekers has more support than any in the past. Commending the support of policymakers towards youth empowerment, and re-assuring the millennial workforce of the Governments’ initiatives, Fatima Alloghani, Head of Expo Academy and Emiratisation stated: “It makes us really feel safe to know that our government is working so hard to ensure a secure future for our youth.”
Among other eminent speakers who shared hard facts and figures was Othman Almoamar, Chair of Y20 & Research Manager, MiSK Foundation, Saudi Arabia, the Supporting Partners of the Summit. Othman delivered an impactful speech on Youth – the most valuable resource of the 21st century. He shared in-depth research findings compiled by Misk Foundation highlighting salient points like the larger appetite for enterprise and risk-taking among youth in our region as also an optimistic outlook, openness to other cultures and appreciation of the value of education. Almoamar confirmed that the important research being done by MiSK Foundation would be constructive only when it converts to positive action to meet the expectations of future generations.
The riveting sessions had the attendees engaged with insights and findings which is crucial for nurturing the future leaders of tomorrow, today. Human rights and social development activist, youth trainer, Founder & CEO, Enabling LLC, UAE, Lina Hamdan highlighted the problem of unemployment among youth in the Arab region. She suggested that it could be resolved if young people were more open minded themselves about jobs, willing to work for SMEs which according to her offer most of the jobs in the market. She said that government is an enabler, but youth has a responsibility to take advantage of the opportunities available.
Another intriguing panel discussion on HR Crossfire Youth V/s Veterans pitted the views of the youth against those in positions of authority and was one of the most interactive and highly successful subjects discussed . The panellists agreed that in order to benefit business, society and individuals in the workplace, open communication from both sides, flexibility, and adaptability are required from both the young new joiners and their more experienced colleagues.
The issue of unhappiness in the workplace among youth in the Arab world too was addressed by most of the speakers and many recommendations were shared to encourage young people. Chief among these was open mindedness, approachability, direct two-way communication, mutual respect, and adaptability for all generations millennials as well as Generation X and Generation Y. Ahmed Taleb Al Shamsi, Acting CEO of Emirates Foundation rightly pointed that the mere empowerment of youth is not enough and the next steps need to be mentoring and coaching.
To this, Abdulrahaman Alhammadi, Chair of the Executive Youth Council concurred, “Today’s leaders are the most progressive because of the advancements in the digital age, namely the internet.”. Youth Advocate fro SDGs, Simarna Singh agreed on the point and stated “Leaders in #GCC are extremely forward thinking and visionary. Adding to this was Dr Saliha Afridi, Founding and Managing Director, The Lighthouse Arabia said “Allow employees to feel ‘in control’ at organisations, the more autonomy they exercise, the less depressed and anxious they will be. Of course, create KPIs, but creating a conducive environment at the workplace will boost productivity.”
Soft issues too were fully addressed throughout the conference. The inspirational Keynote address on Connecting Today’s Organizations with Tomorrow’s Leaders by Hannan Al Sammak emphasized the importance of happiness to be productive. Other important subjects highlighted by speakers were Women Empowerment and breaking barriers encouraging young women to carve out their own niche and identity and Vocational Education and skill sets. Her Excellency Dr Maryam Matar, Founder & Chairman, UAE Genetic Diseases Association presented an enlightening exposition on epigenetics, the influence of environment factors and others such as sleep and water consumption on Well Being. Dr, Engr. Suaad Al Shamsi, the first Female Emirati Aircraft Engineer emphasized the importance of following one’s interests demonstrating her own struggles to purse the career of her dreams. Many speakers talked about the young generation choosing the right education depending on marketability, skills and predilections.
Last but not least on the agenda was Mental Health and a passionate discussion on Wellness, Wellbeing & Welfare – pressing issues concerning today’s youth. Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, Founder of Whispers of Serenity, Oman emphasized that it is very important to talk about emotions with the youth so that they can make a better judgement regarding their happiness about the environment they work in.
Commenting on the success of the summit Ackash Jain, Director QnA International, organizers of the GOV Youth Summit says “We are pleased at the enthusiasm from all participants speakers, panellists and the audience who enthusiastically agreed that the discussions were stimulating, enlightening and sure to make an impact. We would like to thank all our distinguished guests for the support extended towards the Summit and we hope to grow the Summit into more powerful in the coming years.” – firstname.lastname@example.org