A few days ago, I talked in Snapchat about the program Lahza (Moment) which I present during Ramadan every year and about a new scientific program which I am currently producing for another Arabic channel and which will be presented by a promising Emirati young man who is interested in space science. I received a letter from a group of young men and women saying we, in the UAE, have many government-launched science projects.
According to them, the UAE has a space center, a plan to reach Mars by 2021 and a plan to colonize the Red Planet in 2117. We have the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant for peaceful nuclear energy, the Masdar City and events that are all year-long and that discuss the future and how to enable the youth.
I read the message and said to myself: “True, there is a new Arab model being created here in the UAE.” I recalled the quote of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed – God bless him – as he spoke about youth and education and said: “If our investment today is right, we will celebrate exporting the last barrel of oil after 50 years.”
The Mohammed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations’ workshop wrapped up on Wednesday.
Thousands of students from different UAE universities attended, listening to top officials and experts in different fields from the UAE and other countries. These talks empowered what the Emirati government and its leadership talk about in terms of the future and youth.
Workshops were held on creative innovation to find solutions for future challenges in the fields of transportation and education.
There were brainstorming sessions held between students to come up with innovative solutions in cooperation with IBM Watson, the supercomputer, and to plan for the future using modern tools and not via pen and paper.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed always uses the word “my children” to address young Emirati men and women. If you sit with him, you will not attract his attention by talking about funds and investments but by talking about new ideas, philosophy and human development. I once attended an Iftar banquet he hosted during Ramadan.
At the event, Nasa administrator Charles Bolden was seated next to him and for 40 minutes the conversation between them was about the future of humanity and how life will be in the future.
The initiative of The Mohammed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations confirms to young people – despite their different fields or ages – that they are a major pillar in development which is an essential principle for the UAE’s strategic plans.Yasser Hareb
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed does not need my praise. You all know him well. The initiative of The Mohammed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations confirms to young people – despite their different fields or ages – that they are a major pillar in development which is an essential principle for the UAE’s strategic plans.
Perhaps this experience inspires Arab countries to mould their youth and include them in planning for the future and equip them with modern tools so that they become efficient citizens and not just consumers.
At the end of the address delivered by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed at the opening of the Majlis’ events, he told students: “Those who achieved great change in life are not the ones who learnt more but the ones who were more serious. I hope the young men and women of the UAE are aware that after all these opportunities have been made available to them and all this interest they received at an early age, they bear a great responsibility and are tasked with the precious mission of pushing this great country to be among the top ranks of human civilization. This will not be achieved unless you are serious and dedicated in life and loyal at work.”
This article is also available in Arabic.
Yasser Hareb is an Emirati novelist and writer on political and social affairs. You can follow him at www.twitter.com/YasserHareb