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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Queen Rania gives the concept of youth a facelift

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Amman) A youthful spirit lies within us all. To reveal it, all we need to do is look within ourselves and reinvigorate how we view the world. This was the message behind Her Majesty Queen Rania’s opening remarks at the ¨Youth and Entrepreneurship¨ session of the World Economic Forum, on Saturday.

“My point is, the most precious aspects of youth are not tied to ages or stages.  Preserving them doesn’t mean clinging to the past – it means embracing the future,” Queen Rania said.

Addressing an audience that included HRH Prince Faisal, entrepreneurs, government officials, business leaders and a number of Arab youth, Queen Rania stressed that people’s general perception of what is meant by youth has to change in order to enable them to positively interact with the challenges and opportunities brought about by the 21st century.

Queen Rania was speaking at a time when the region is faced with the challenge of creating 50 million jobs in the next five years.

"Changing that from a challenge to an opportunity," she said, "requires a fundamental transformation in the way we do business - with a dynamic private sector driving growth and creating opportunity."

The answer to creating such opportunities, Queen Rania asserted, lies in “our mindset, attitude and approach to life”.

"Our challenge, and the challenge of our esteemed panel, is to think of ways to "spread more youthful values across the full spectrum of society," she said.

This session builds upon Her Majesty’s call at last year's WEF, to integrate youth and place them center stage at such forums and involve them in strategic discussions in developing their communities.

The call was followed on by the creation of the Young Global Leaders Forum by WEF, with Queen Rania as a member of the nomination committee.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a newly formed, unique, multi-stakeholder community of 1111 exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future. The Forum brings together young leaders who are currently internationally prominent and those who are destined for future greatness. This year, 239 such exemplary individuals have been selected.

The session included a panel of representatives from the region, namely Majid Al Ghurair and Arif Naqvi, two Young Global Leaders, from the United Arab Emirates as well as two youth, selected from the 15 Arab youth who were invited to WEF, by His Majesty King Abdullah, who interacted with one another deliberating the above issues and questions. 

“Employ us, we are not only the future, we are the present,” urged Ahmad Al-Hassan, a youth panellist who participated in WEF.

At the end of the forum, the participating youth will release a statement on their perception of the reform process in the Arab world.
Al-Hassan called on Queen Rania to “unleash the power of youth,” and urged governments to integrate youth in decisions affecting them and their future.

Queen Rania noted that entrepreneurship demands that we tear down barriers, build up a social foundation, and create a sturdy platform to support young people and help them reach their dreams.
                          
Hosted at the Dead Sea in Jordan for the third consecutive time, the three-day annual event convened under the theme of ‘Seizing the Moment’, serving as a platform where leaders, from business, politics and civil society, engage to help focus efforts to capitalize upon the current climate of change and opportunity in the region, within the following sub-themes: Driving Economic Growth; Fostering Peace and Security; the Middle East and the World; the Reform Agenda and Society and Change.