During a UN event, young Arabs talk about empowerment, employment, and education
During a UN event, young Arabs talk about empowerment, employment, and education

New York City:  Young men and women from the Arab world discussed opportunities for empowerment as well as youth involvement in public life, employment, and education during an event on Wednesday at the UN headquarters in New York.

The transition from "Learning to Earning," which included discussions of educational opportunities, the state of the job market, and other factors that can affect a young person's progression from education to employment, was one of the main themes of the Youth Forum for the Arab States Region, which was organised by the UN Economic and Social Council.

The gathering also provided young Arabs with an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments, share their stories, and talk about how their experiences in education, employment, and volunteer work can help to empower other young people in the area.

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Men and women from a variety of countries in the region—including Sudan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Yemen, Qatar, and Oman—discussed the events that shaped not only their professional lives but also their outlooks on life and their success stories.

Arab youth unemployment was a hot topic of conversation. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the session's chair, Hany Anan of Lebanon, noted that the unemployment rate for young people in North Africa and the Arab Middle Eastern countries was respectively about 29% and 24%. In the Arab world, the rate for women was higher, ranging between 36 and 40 percent, he continued.

According to UN statistics, more than half of the more than 400 million people living in the Arab world are under the age of 25, and one in five of the population is between the ages of 15 and 24.

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Sudanese refugee Mayada Adil, a doctor, fashion designer, and advocate for women's health equity rights, told the forum that she focuses on "sustainable development," which enables young people to shape their own futures by making decisions that advance their personal and professional development.

She continued by stating that she anticipates a significant shift in the Arab world towards digitization and the optimisation of job markets, so it is important to educate young people in the subjects and abilities necessary for them to meet future labour demands and fit into the economic and social system. 

Adil said, "Let's make real efforts to invest in the potential of our youth.

Young mother and researcher Asmae El-Hajji discussed how her early involvement in volunteer work in her native Morocco had shaped her personality and chosen career path as well as increased her income.

Yemeni native Talal Ahmed urged recent graduates and new college grads in the area to pursue "alternative ways to make income" rather than concentrating solely on the traditional job market, such as by taking the entrepreneurial route and opening their own businesses.

Aceel Radi, a Saudi environmental expert, outlined a number of programmes put forth by the Kingdom's leadership to invest in the potential of the country's young people.

By 2030, there are expected to be 92 million young people living in the Arab world, she noted, adding that her nation is actively working to encourage sustainability and development among Saudi youth.

Shamsah from Oman and Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mohannadi from Qatar spoke about how education helps prepare young people for the job markets of the future.

Al-Mohannadi stated that as part of its strategy to empower the youth population in support of the strategic national vision for the future, the Qatari government has established several universities in the nation and actively promotes the establishment of campuses by foreign educational institutions there.

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According to Shamsah, Oman is dedicated to sustainability and the diversity of skills among its young population. The development of soft skills in areas like tourism, financial services, and digitization is essential for the country's investment in its youth, she continued.

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