The author provides a brief overview of the Youth Retreat’s first day that she attended, and reflects on why it matters for the youth to have such a retreat.
This year, on the 27th of September, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum initiated the National Youth Dialogue hashtag. The initiative called for the youth to tweet about their dreams, goals, and obstacles. Soon after, a two-day retreat was meant to take place with officials and the youth to discuss future plans for the country. The hashtag gained an instant liking from the general public where not only the youth were tweeting their suggestions, but also the older generation participated.
Today, the first of the two-day event was held. The Minister of Youth, Her Excellency Shamma Suhail Al Mazroui, started off the retreat with inspiring words motivating the youth to make history. She emphasized that whatever ideas we have will be done by the youth, for the youth. Her heartwarming words pushed the participating youth to showcase the best ideas possible, to help our country develop even further.
The retreat was structured in a way that small groups were made to discuss the different main topics. The main topics were: education, health, engagement, productivity, safety, entrepreneurship, responsibility, and values; all key elements to a better society.
Each group was guided by an expert figure in the respective topic assigned for that group. The expert was given the role of a moderator. They helped facilitate the discussion while explaining the process of strategy making. It was imperative that the youth develops ideas that were both beneficial, as well as applicable, as the effectiveness of any idea can only be measured with its successful implementation.
After an extensive brainstorming, the groups were required to further develop and analyze their ideas. After the completion of this task, several dignitaries such as Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, the minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, and Her Excellency Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State, among many others, had sessions with the groups to guide them. Such dignitaries had the role of explaining how the ideas could work with the UAE’s vision and the existing initiatives.
The purpose of the first day was purely focused on brainstorming and drafting new strategies that go along with the UAE’s National Agenda. It gave the youth a chance to suggest how the governmental institutions can improve to stay up-to-date with the fast pacing world, and the mindset of the youth.
The Youth Retreat was a wonderful platform to prove that the youth’s ideas are valued and they have a say in the decision-making process. It also made it clear that the UAE is heavily invested in its youth, and is a firm believer in their power and impact.
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
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