Amid much fanfare, Education Above All (EAA) Foundation’s programme, Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), officially flagged off the 11th edition of its premier annual event, Empower Youth Conference 2019, on March 14, which is scheduled to run till March 16 at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Student Center.

The event was inaugurated in the presence of the CEO of Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Smaikh Al-Marri, Chairman of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), and Dr. h.c. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Executive President of Woman in Africa Initiative. The event was attended by a large number of young people between the ages of 16-32, including international participants.

Offering youths yet another exciting opportunity under the theme, Youth � A Catalyst for Peace and Dialogue for Development, Empower 19 aims to emphasize on the role of youth as agents and catalysts for peace and dialogue for sustainable development and promises to be the ideal platform for youth to find their own voices.

The theme bears greater importance in today’s current state of affairs regionally and globally as the United Nations has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Moderation in an effort to amplify the voices of moderation through the promotion of dialogue, tolerance, understanding and cooperation. EAA strongly believes that this theme has the potential to provide powerful and meaningful experiential learning opportunities for both local and international participants. Furthermore, this proposed theme aligns perfectly with the Social Development pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which promotes tolerance, constructive dialogue and openness towards other cultures, dialogue among civilizations and coexistence between different religions and cultures.

Commenting on this occasion, Mr. Abdulla Abdulla, Associate Executive Director of ROTA, said:

The Empower 2019 Conference theme adds significant value to EAA’s vision in bringing new life chances, hope and opportunities to improve the lives of youth. It also reaffirms EAA’s belief in unlocking human potential and encouraging collaboration through its efforts to achieve SDG 4 on Education, through the promotion of peace, tolerance and understanding as well as an appreciation of cultural diversity and its contribution to sustainable development. The past editions have proven our Qatari youths’ capabilities and their determination towards such social endeavours. This year’s conference will once again strengthen their objective to drive change through meaningful contributions.

He added: This year’s conference is intended to harness youth’s enthusiasm and creativity, with the support of ROTA staff, which will greatly contribute in meeting Qatar’s development goals and Qatar National Vision 2030. Empower 2019, ROTA’s 11th annual 3-day international youth conference is aimed at raising awareness, increase knowledge and build capacity of young people in Qatar and the world to enable youth as catalysts for peace and dialogue for development. We are confident that the coming days are going to be quite eventful in bringing a holistic societal change that we want to see and help Qatar flourish in all spectrums of growth.

For his part, His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Smaikh Al-Marri, Chairman of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), said:

I would like to start by thanking Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and Reach out to Asia (ROTA) for inviting me to the opening of Empower 2019 youth conference and giving me this opportunity to participate in this year’s theme Youth as catalysts for dialogue and peace for sustainable development. In order for the youth to be involved in the development process, they must have a role in society, a role in the media, and a role in public affairs.

We must enable the youth to communicate their voices to policy and strategy makers and listen to their views seriously and respectfully. I would like to emphasise on youth’s confidence in the human values and their faith in equality, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, culture, class, sectarian or social affiliation, makes a huge difference. I would also like to thank Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser for her generous initiative and continuous efforts in the development of human capacities on the regional and global front. I would like to also thank the team and ROTA and for the great successes they are achieving through the programme, added H.E. Dr. Ali Bin Smaikh Al-Marri.

From her end, Dr. h.c. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Executive President of Woman in Africa Initiative said:

I am honoured to participate in the Empower Conference, completely organized by the youth of Qatar and of the region. Their hard work is a sign of their belief in the power of youth to foster peace in the world. It’s critical that we support them.

Empower 2019 conference focuses on the values of peace, tolerance, inclusivity and moderation through intercultural dialogue that will help youth delegates build the awareness, knowledge and skills required to actively participate in the process of peacebuilding in a meaningful way, guide them to acknowledge the importance of youth protection, and the role they can play in promoting intercultural understanding.

The event will include a combination of Seminar, Panel Discussion, Power Speeches, Keynote Speeches, Small Group Workshops, Presentations, Exhibition, Inspirational Success Stories and Off-Site Visits, which relate to the theme as well as Awarding Ceremony and Cultural Performance as part from the programme. Workshops will be conducted during the conference to address the three elements of the Youth Program � Leadership, Service Learning and Global Citizenship. Panel discussions and workshops will focus on equipping young people to take active roles in building their communities and educate youth as well as raising their awareness about the important role youth play in peace building and dialogue. The workshops will be divided in to 2 packages (Soft skills and Technical Skills), each participant will be required to at least select 1 workshop from each package.

The EMPOWER 2019 Conference will also serve as an important forum to promote the importance of partnering and engaging with youth in peacebuilding strategies with community actors, relevant international organizations and United Nations bodies.

Source: Education above All