Addressing the youth attending who hail from 196 countries, El-Sisi said: "The World Youth Forum has become a platform for dialogue and communication among young people, and a tool for exchanging visions between the entire world, especially at this crucial moment in human history."
This juncture, the Egyptian president stressed, makes it imperative to realise the importance of dialogue and managing differences between people and also to believe and be sure that the Creator’s wisdom and secret in the universe is for us to be different without discrimination.
In his speech during the opening ceremony, El-Sisi added that humanity cannot overcome its current crises and challenges to survive without sincere intentions to end conflicts, manage differences, and work jointly in the interests of humanity and peace.
The annual event, which Egypt inaugurated in 2017 to bring the world’s youth together to promote dialogue and discuss development issues, returned today after a one-year pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, and will be running from 10-13 January.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Jordan’s Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II attended the opening ceremony.
The fourth edition of the forum is being held under the slogan of 'Back Together'.
In a recorded video speech, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the forum is "a great" opportunity for youth to exchange expertise, create a better future, and improve health.
"Most of the world’s population is young people under the age of 30… The future is within their hands, and they are facing the challenges of today and tomorrow, including climate change, pollution, health and others," he added.
The opening ceremony also saw a recorded speech by UN Secretary-General António Guterres who said the pandemic resulted in negative psychological impacts. However, youth will manage to overcome this experience successfully.
"The minds of young people are inexhaustible from innovative ideas," Guterres said.
Three youth representing Egypt, Tunisia, and Ghana spoke at the inauguration, which began with an introductory display highlighting the focal points of the international event.
Under the theme ‘COVID-19: A warning to Humanity and A New Hope’, the opening session of the WYF is scheduled to start with the contributions from a bunch of experts, inspiring youths in various fields, prominent international figures, and youth groups from around the world.
The evening of the first day will witness the opening of the World Youth Theatre, which is a youth-to-youth hub that gathers promising artists from all over the world to play their outstanding talents and express their cultures through a wide range of art-related activities.
The keynote of the other three days will revolve around post-COVID impacts, climate change, social security, human rights, entrepreneurship, technology, 5G networks, digital transformation, distance learning, the environment, and the future of energy, according to the WYF’s website.
The lead up to the event
The WYF held several preparatory workshops over the past two days that were attended by experts, officials, and a host of young participants from across the world.
The workshops on Sunday included sessions on the coronavirus pandemic and the growing role of financial technology in emerging markets and post-pandemic education.
The sessions also tackled the role of youths in confronting environmental and climate-centric challenges and the UN’s sustainable development goals amid the pandemic.
The workshops on Saturday, however, covered the future of technology and post-pandemic digital transformation, Generation Z’s perspective on the post-pandemic world, and Egypt’s Decent Life countryside-focused initiative.
The EGP 700 billion Decent Life Presidential Initiative, which was officially inaugurated in July 2021, aims to improve the standards of living, infrastructure, and basic services — including healthcare — across the countryside.