RIYADH: Panelists at the Riyadh G20 summit on Thursday described youth as “key stakeholders of the future” as they underlined the importance of expanding opportunities for younger generations.
“Youth will shape the global future,” Lauren Power, head delegate of the US Y20, said during a roundtable titled “Opportunities for Youth to Create a Better Future.”
She highlighted the importance of meaningful dialogue, knowledge sharing and the role of technology in enriching the experiences of youth.
Power also praised Saudi Arabia, saying that it has taken many initiatives to discover, develop and empower youth.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused distress across the globe, she said.
“In the US, it has hugely affected the mental health of people.”
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the Kingdom’s sports minister, said that sporting opportunities have a big role in creating a better future for youth.
The minister said that sports development in the Kingdom needs to be accelerated, and authorities are utilizing resources and making efforts to bring it to the required level.
“Our aim is to take our youth to a level where they can engage with their international peers (of athletes) and learn from their rich experiences, so in the future they can match the excellence,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s first women’s football league started on Thursday with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup and a $133,000 cash prize.
“It’s part of our youth empowerment program,” the minister said, adding that this is “one exciting step” toward new sports developments in the Kingdom.
He said that there has been a roughly 50 percent increase in number of sporting federations, while 20,000 jobs were created in sports in 2019.
Dr. Einas bint Suleiman Al-Eisa, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) rector, echoed the minister’s comments, adding that the university is creating the right ecosystem for women’s empowerment.
“Our empowerment includes the concept of global citizenship education with students and faculties, not only from the Kingdom but also various other nationalities being part of our academic program,” she said.
Y20 chair Othman Almoamar said that optimism is essential to overcome the pandemic. “Y20 has come up with a joint statement on youth empowerment that will help a lot in this area,” he said.
Anna Affranio, head of Italian Y20 delegation, said that mental health is key to overcome the challenges amid the pandemic.
She also highlighted the importance of technology and its key role in youth empowerment.
The session was moderated by Dr. Maha Al-Mutlaq, dean of the law college at PNU, who said that youth empowerment is “at the heart” of developments and reforms in Saudi Arabia.
“More than 30 percent of Saudi population are youth, with the crown prince, a young leader, as the youth icon,” she added.