Located at the far edge of Upper Egypt, Aswan is the closest Egyptian city to the Dark Continent and most connected to African roots. And this is why it has been selected as the capital of African youth, to bring together young people from all over of the country to mingle with each other in events where they can share and exchange their cultures, hopes and aspirations for their present and future.
Next week, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) will be holding the Sport for All festival from 17 to 20 February. The four-day event will see the participation of thousands of Egyptians and Africans who will take part in sports and cultural events, including workshops, conferences and sports competitions, including a marathon.
MYS will be joined by several other organisations and associations: Sport for All, the Faculty of Physical Education in Aswan, the Egyptian and African Sports Culture Association, the Egyptian Federation for School Sports, the General Association for Government Employees, the Egyptian Federation For Electronic Games, the General Association of Companies, the Egyptian Universities Sports Federation and the Council of Arab Businesswomen.
The event will be attended by Egyptian ministers of youth and sports, education and tourism as well as presidents of international and African sports federations.
From 18 to 20 March, Aswan will host another event, the three-day Arab and African Youth Platform following the recommendations of last year’s World Youth Forum which took place in Sharm El-Sheikh.
In November 2018, at the closing ceremony of the World Youth Forum, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi announced that Aswan would be the capital for African youth. The Aswan platform will be held under the auspices of Al-Sisi who has shown enormous interest in the issues and future of youth. In 2016, Al-Sisi first called for the creation of the Youth Forum Platform at national, regional, African and international levels. Since then, the platforms have been held under the slogan “Discuss, Generate, Act”, offering a wide range of engaging activities on topics that represent challenges and opportunities for youth.
Aswan will focus on a number of issues of interest to Arab and African youth in light of Egypt’s chairmanship of the African Union this year. It will include sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions with young leaders and decision-makers in an open dialogue, focusing on the major concerns of youth in the Arab world and Africa. The experience is meant to bridge the gap between young promising leaders and top policy decision-makers and foster Arab and African cooperation.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 14 February, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Heading south?