Participants of the Second Doha Forum Youth Edition Saturday discussed the challenges to be met in the fields of education and climate change as they engaged in dialogue and diplomacy to tackle the pressing issues of today.
A collaborative event by Doha Forum and Qatar Foundation, the event was held at the Minaretein building (College of Islamic Studies) in Education City. It is a precursor to the annual Doha Forum, an immersive two-day conference that will gather global leaders for constructive dialogue on December 14-15.
HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, speaking at the forum. PICTURES: Shemeer Rasheed
A panel discussion at the forum
The young members also discussed topics like Radicalisation and the Role of Education in its Prevention, during panel debates in both English and Arabic.
HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, HE Sheikh Thani bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN special envoy on youth were among the dignitaries who attended the forum.
More than 200 youth leaders participated in the forum and the discussions aimed at nurturing leadership and advocacy skills and highlighting the paramount importance of education.
There were three panel discussions at the forum engaging the youth from several fields.
Speaking at the opening session, Wickramanayake highlighted that education and climate change are two important topics that the world needs to address with urgency.
“ Education is not a privilege but a birthright of every young man and woman. It is the most powerful tool to resist other forces such as terrorism and to fight other security threats. One dollar invested for education can generate 15 dollars in return.”
The topics of panel discussions were Climate Change: The Power and Responsibility of the Next Generation; Education Politics in Conflict Zones and The Quest for Identity and Radicalisation and the Role of Education in its Prevention.
Speaking at the event, HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem al-Ali emphasised the importance of the topics of Doha Forum Youth Edition.
HE the Minister talked about the mechanisms of real change in the world towards the issues and the role of local, regional and international forums, conferences, and institutions in bringing about this change. He pointed out that despite the existence of these institutions, and international efforts there are numerous wars being fought at different levels. Racism and partisanship are still active even in the developed world, he said. He asked "Why have there been no breakthrough for these problems facing us? Where do we start to bring about the desired change? Do we establish institutions and launch new programmes or change our activities and leaders?"
He continued : "The beginning must be from ourselves, if we want to change the world, let us start by ourselves," adding that the real change in the major perceptions of societies starts from the self and changes from within.
HE Lolwah Al-Khater, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and executive director of Doha Forum commented: “I am delighted at the success of this year’s Doha Forum Youth Edition. "Providing a dedicated youth platform and opportunity to engage and debate on high profile topics such as climate change, it is clear to see just how much the youth of today have to contribute to thought leadership, while engaging in the culture of diplomacy, dialogue and diversity. It is with great anticipation that we now await this year’s Doha Forum in December,” she said.
Panel debates were led by youth leaders in a range of fields, including Muzoon Almellhan, activist and the youngest UNICEF Goodwill ambassador , Rümeysa Kadak, member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and Shoaib Rahim, acting mayor of Kabul. The event was moderated by Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Nofe al-Suwaidi.
At the first session, panelists discussed climate change and how to overcome the challenges. Dina al-Tarawneh , co-founder of Green Mangroves,Mohammed al-Housani, sustainable energy activist/researcher and Abdalla I al-Suwaidi, chairman of Elite Paper Recycling deliberated different approaches to overcome climate change and how small individual steps can help in protecting the environment and counter the challenges of climate change. The session was moderated by Dareen Abughaida, principal presenter, Al Jazeera English.
“Through the Doha Forum Youth Edition, young people have applied their perspectives, their experiences, and their passion to some of the most important topics affecting and influencing our world today – topics through which the common thread of education run," added Mayan Zebeib, Chief Communications Officer, Qatar Foundation.