Wednesday, November 11th, saw 367 young people assembled over Zoom, for the 10th and final ‘Reimagine’ youth circle event, for the launch of the highly anticipated White Paper titled “Youth want a green recovery to shape UAE's next 50 years”, written by youth for youth, highlighting key insights and trends of the previous 9 sessions of the series. We were honoured to have our esteemed guest, H.E. Huda AlHashimi, Chief of Strategy and Government Innovation, join us for a fascinating talk on turning the valuable insights and ideas from the White Paper into strategies that deliver measurable results, stressing once more the importance of youth in playing their part in designing the nest 50’. She said that empowering youth, promoting their capabilities, and motivating them to develop long-term visions for designing strategic plans, is at the core of the government work methodology and policies aiming to design the path towards the next 50 years.
H.E. Huda AlHashimi began by highlighting 2020 as a defining year for UAE, explaining that apart from the unprecedented pandemic, it is the year we prepare to shape the next 50 years for the country - a milestone that calls for revamping the nation’s development model, in which coordinated efforts will need to be made. She went on to say that people from different segments of society will be included to design and participate in the development of the plans– and with UAE youth making up 50% of the country’s population, the power is in their hands, and the leadership is fully behind them.
“50 years ago, our founding fathers designed our way of living, today we owe it to you, and the next generation to do the same, and design for coming generations”.
Recently, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE, launched designing the next 50’ project, involving the public in shaping the next 50 years, and Her Excellency asserted that youth are playing a big role in developing plans for the next 5 decades.
She added that during these unprecedented times, we are faced with many challenges that we need to surmount, but that we should view these challenges as opportunities. Awareness of these opportunities is key, so that we can start working on them and move forward. In a note of optimism, she added “UAE does not wait, it continues to plan ahead, even during a pandemic.” She mentioned her belief that the strongest of opportunities will be seen in the domain of our environment and the planet earth.
As we shape the next 50’ we are quickly moving into the implementation stage, and H.E. Huda added that ‘hearing your insights from the previous sessions based on the question – is nature a priority for the UAE youth in the COVID-19 recovery, the conclusions and actions you want to take support the strategy, and provide a strong input”.
She stressed that at times of uncertainty it is even more important to innovate and strategize. Sound strategies lay down a clear plan for us to work together, allowing us to put effort and focus in a prioritized manner. H.E. Huda urged youth to turn their insights into strategic plans, have essential elements including vision, mission, strategic objectives and initiatives, and make sure that the performance is measured, through which the success and achievement of the strategy and its initiatives can be gauged.
Her Excellency also underlined three most important considerations of a strategic plan:
- Dream big – don’t put barriers
- Plan collectively - make sure to involve key stakeholders during the design stage.
- Be pre-emptive and agile - the world is changing at a considerable pace, and with lots of uncertainty, there needs to be agility.
She called out to the attending youth to play an active role in driving change. They must keep a keen eye on what is happening around them, and pivot if they must, without losing sight on their ultimate goals. Youth were urged to be prepared to predict the future and be nimble and agile to change the implementation course of their strategies if required.
In this context, H.E. Huda AlHashimi introduced the accelerator program, and said that through this platform, very challenging tasks can be planned, and through effective collaboration with multi-stakeholders, the desired outcomes can be achieved in 100 days. She added that the seemingly aggressive timelines, instill a sense of urgency, not giving a chance for making excuse, instead “pushing them to pull up their sleeves and move into action mode.” It allows those in the front line to truly get things done and translate strategies into reality. She also added, that aside from government programs, initiatives such as youth hubs are increasing across the nation, allowing youth to come together, to design and implement.
H.E. Huda AlHashimi mentioned that the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation, is providing youth access to courses, toolkits, MOOCS, case studies to kickstart their journey into starting innovation and insights projects, helping them achieve their goals. “Youth of UAE have access to an immense amount of resources. During these times, youth can also develop these projects and make a change even virtually, as we are doing today through such platforms.”
She concluded her talk by reiterating that “youth must participate in designing the next 50 years and be part of the change. Together we can follow the footsteps of our past leaders and continue the path to a prosperous future”.