World Youth Forum to seek youthful solutions

Reem Leila , Thursday 1 Nov 2018

The World Youth Forum tradition continues, sending a message of peace and prosperity

World Youth Forum
In this Oct. 23, 2018 photo, a man stands under a billboard advertising the World Youth Forum conference that is scheduled to be held in the South Sinai resort town of Sharm el Sheik from Nov. 3-6, in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

The Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh is getting ready to receive some 5,000 youths from 165 countries over the weekend, taking part in the second edition of the World Youth Forum (WYF).

The forum, scheduled to take place from 3-6 November with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in attendance, is a platform created by young people to deliver a message of peace and prosperity from Egypt to the rest of the world. More than 300 speakers will address participants at the annual event.

This year, the WYF events will revolve around a vision inspired by The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity, a book by Egyptian author Milad Hanna written to emphasise the unity and harmony of Egyptian society despite divergences and differences.

The forum’s three-day sessions will revolve around three main themes: peace, development and creativity. The first theme will discuss rebuilding post-conflict countries and societies, as well as the role of world leaders in achieving peace, providing humanitarian aid, combating terrorism and Euro-Mediterranean collaboration.

The second will tackle issues related to water security, energy, empowerment of people with special needs and the role of voluntary work in developing societies.

It will also tackle the 2063 African Sustainable Development agenda, the strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years.

The guiding vision for Agenda 2063 is the African Union’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena”.

The third theme will tackle topics related to e-sports and games, employment opportunities, the role of entrepreneurs in economic global growth, the role of art and cinema in forming communities, social media, digital citizenship and means of building future leaders.

On the forum’s sidelines will be a Model Arab-African Summit (MAAS). This was one of the recommendations of the first edition of the WYF which took place in November 2017.

MAAS participants will step into the shoes of leaders from Africa and the Arab countries to debate current issues on the organisation’s agenda.

While playing their roles as ambassadors, “delegates” make speeches, prepare draft resolutions, negotiate with allies, resolve conflicts, and mobilise international cooperation to resolve problems that affect countries in the Middle East and Africa.

There will also be the World Youth Theatre (WYT) created by youth for youth. The theatre will host a variety of performances, including musical plays, stand-up comedy and inspirational talks. Youth from all over the world will present their talent to the audiences.

Around 1,000 youths from 50 countries will have the opportunity to participate in performances ranging from music and singing to experimental theatre and fashion.

Mohamed Hemeida, a WYT organiser, said the event will be the biggest of its kind in the world. “There will be workshops held during the event, conducting lessons on photography, music, short films, graphics and sculpture,” Hemeida said.

All these activities will reflect positively on Egypt’s tourism, he added.

The forum enables youths to connect with top policy-makers, promising calibres from the region and the world who are determined to make the world a better place for everyone.

Alieddin Hilal, a former youth minister and professor of political science at Cairo University, believes that last year’s forum was a success because it enabled Egyptian youth to mingle with those coming from other countries.

“Egyptian youths have been introduced to problems experienced by youths from abroad,” Hilal said.

This year’s forum agenda tackles issues that touch the lives of the world’s youth, not merely from Egypt or the region. One of those issues is water scarcity, a problem in many countries around the world, Hilal said.

Terrorism, another issue up for discussion, is also a universal problem, he added.

“It is essential to enable and give youth the chance to express their views regarding different topics. It is essential to listen to their opinions and solutions to help them become the world’s future leaders,” Hilal said.

The idea of the forum was originally proposed in April 2017 when a group of Egyptian youths proposed the initiative at the National Youth Conference in Ismailia.

Last year’s forum hosted over 3,000 participants from 113 countries.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 1 November, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Youthful solutions

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