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Youth Majlis is back at Davos. And world leaders must pay attention

In an exclusive interview, Omar Najjar, Chief Program Officer at MiSK Foundation, talks about bringing back youth majlis at the WEF meeting this year and the power of young people for climate action.

Youth Majlis is back at Davos. And world leaders must pay attention
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Youth Majlis is back at this year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to offer young people a platform in the global conversation. The majlis, organized by the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK), will explore collaborative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues — from inclusive economic growth to ambitious climate action.

“Youth Majlis promotes intergenerational dialogue and will bring together young innovators, leaders, and more than 35 global speakers. I am excited about the dialogue we can establish through our participation. It aims to connect and share unique perspectives on the issues facing youth today by fostering dialogue and understanding between different generations,” Omar Najjar, Chief Program Officer at MiSK Foundation, told Fast Company Middle East on the sidelines of the annual meeting.

As global leaders gather in the Alpine destination under the theme of Cooperation in a Fragmented World, Najjar said it is the Middle East’s time to shine. “We are convening people in one of the only youth-focused pavilions at Davos under a radical new idea – multigenerational dialogue that enables impactful youth leadership.

Under the theme of Generation Transformation, MiSK is hosting a youth-focused pavilion at the WEF Summit.

YOUTH DRIVING POSITIVE CHANGE

He says Saudi youth have shown a strong desire to drive positive change towards a sustainable future by harnessing the power of multigenerational dialogue. “As the kingdom looks to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060, young people nationwide have rallied behind this cause, working towards reducing energy consumption, promoting the conservation of natural resources, advocating for renewable power, and developing new skills for the green economy.”

The foundation launched the Youth Impact Council Initiative last year to catalyze meaningful action. The platform supports the growth of youth organizations, providing an effective environment and sharing experiences and information to support nonprofits, including in the climate space.

ENGAGING IN MULTIGENERATIONAL DIALOGUE

“World leaders must listen to youth as they bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table. They also have a unique understanding of the challenges facing an increasingly fragmented and multipolar world,” says Najjar.

He adds that a multigenerational dialogue between baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Z, and millennials is critical because it facilitates the transfer of knowledge, experience, and expertise. It also helps to break down stereotypes and build mutual understanding between generations. 

“When world leaders listen to young people and engage in multigenerational dialogue, they can make better-informed decisions and develop more effective solutions to society’s challenges.” 

One of the foundation’s missions is to create a new cadre of young leaders in Saudi Arabia and worldwide by providing education, training, and mentorship opportunities in entrepreneurship, culture, creative arts, science, and technology. 

“Diversity and inclusivity are critical in ensuring youth are empowered to participate fully in society and have a voice in shaping the future,” says Najjar.

“We empower young people to take an active role in the global agenda. Through our various initiatives and programs, we are bridging the gap between young people, policymakers, and decision-makers, creating a more inclusive and equitable society along the way,” he adds.

During the 2022 WEF annual meeting, MiSK’s Youth Majlis welcomed more than 1,700 visitors from 42 countries, 14 heads of state and ministers, 200 VIP guests, and 25 speakers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Suparna Dutt D’Cunha is the Editor at Fast Company Middle East. She is interested in ideas and culture and cover stories ranging from films and food to startups and technology. She was a Forbes Asia contributor and previously worked at Gulf News and Times Of India. More

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