Kingdom takes part in world youth gathering
Kingdom takes part in world youth gathering
The conference aims to produce a joint interstate outcome document under the “Colombo action plan” to make youth an integral part of development in line with the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.
Almost 169 countries are sending speakers, delegates and youth in the conference to discuss themes such as gender equality, cultural exchange and other pressing concerns at the Magam Ruhunupura International Conference Center (MRICC).
A delegation from Saudi Arabia participated in this conference, while the Saudi “Call of Culture” organization also took part on the sidelines of the forum.
The conference brings together 1,500 participants, half of whom are youth with 150 of them coming from marginalized backgrounds, making the conference one of the most well represented youth events at the global level.
The pre-conference procession was led by an independent international youth task force, which represents major global youth organizations and regional platforms, ensuring regional and gender balance.
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, chief guest at the ceremony, said that there would be around three billion young people in the world by 2015.
“It is imperative that a global strategy is developed to mainstream youth focus and ensure their participation in existing and future development programs at the national, regional and global levels,” President Rajapaksa said.
He expressed confidence that such a conference would provide an inspirational platform for such deliberations.
Mohammad Bakhriba, founder of “Call of Culture,” told Arab News that their organization’s main mission is to bridge cultural gaps by facilitating intercultural exchange.
“We also try to promote social entrepreneurship while visiting universities,” he said.
“Through our participation in the forum, we will shed light on music, art, entrepreneurship and other creative domains to enhance reconciliation and the use of social media in bridging cultural divides,” he said.
“The forum contains speakers from different parts of the world to maximize discussions on social innovation,” he said.
“We took on the initiative of trying to link universities from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and other Asian nations to acquaint students with other cultures.”
FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’
RIYADH: Speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh did not shy away from addressing what could otherwise have been the elephant in the room: The death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Numerous speakers had pulled out of the event over the death of the Saudi journalist in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of Saudi authorities, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Many speakers due to attend the FII — mostly those from Western organizations — had pulled out due to allegations the Saudi government was complicit in Khashoggi’s death.
But speakers at the FII on Tuesday tackled the issue head-on, calling the death “abhorrent” and promising justice.
“These are difficult days for us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are going through a crisis, of sorts, resulting from the very regrettable and abhorrent incident that took place in Turkey,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the audience.
“Nobody in the Kingdom can justify it or explain it. From the leadership on down, we are very upset about what has happened,” he added.
“The king has made it clear that there will be an investigation, justice and retribution to those responsible.”
The prominent Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan also remarked on the case, saying that the “terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and DNA.”
Al-Falih said that, despite the ongoing “crisis” due to the case, the ambitious reforms that Saudi Arabia is undertaking would continue.
“The Kingdom is in the midst of a historic transformation of unprecedented proportions, and the train has moved, and it has moved deliberately toward a transformation journey that will not be stopped,” he said.
“Those partners who are here with us today, to continue their journey with us are certainly going to look back and find out how the lessons have been learned from the incident, but at the same time how committed the Kingdom is to its partners who stay the course.”