New training for UAE youth to help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals

Mona Ghanem Al Marri (right), Chairperson of Global Council for SDG 5 (Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality), and Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, Chairperson on Nexus Model on SDGs 4, 8 and 17, and CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SDG Young Leaders Program and the AGFE, on the sidelines of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai
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Dubai: A new agreement was signed in Dubai on Tuesday to upskill Emirati youth in supporting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined by the United Nations.

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Chairperson of Global Council for SDG 5 (Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality), and Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, Chairperson on Nexus Model on SDGs 4, 8 and 17, and CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SDG Young Leaders Program and the AGFE.

The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the first day of the 20th anniversary of the Arab Media Forum (AMF) in Dubai, seeks to establish a framework for cooperation and collaboration between the SDG Young Leaders Program, which aims to provide youth with the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in supporting national and international sustainability initiatives, and AGFE, a philanthropic organisation dedicated to empowering Emirati and Arab youth through education.

What will students learn?

The MoU was signed in the presence of Caroline Faraj, Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief of CNN Arabic, the Dubai-based arm of the leading international news brand. Senior industry executives from CNN Arabic will deliver the programme and, with AGFE’s support, it is offered to the participants at no cost. Siraj will help participants develop skills identified as future-critical by leading global institutions, including the World Economic Forum, McKinsey, and PwC.

Delivered through both in-person and virtual sessions, participants will learn from industry leaders and can put their skill development into practice through experiential learning opportunities and final project submissions.

Siraj, a six-week AGFE skill-development programme delivered in partnership with CNN Arabic, among members of the UAE’s SDG Youth Media Taskforce, part of the SDG Young Leaders Programme, will help participants develop critical skills associated with storytelling through a journalistic lens. The programme will also hone the participants’ debate and critical thinking skills, teaching them the nuances of story and message delivery.

About the programme

The UAE government launched the SDG Young Leaders Program in January 2022 in a strategic partnership with the CSR UAE, The Federal Youth Authority and the Government Leadership Program at the Prime Minister’s Office. Part of the Youth Advisory Council on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the SDG Young Leaders Program aims to involve the youth in national platforms related to the SDGs, build their capacities and engage them in achieving the 17 global SDGs.

As part of the collaboration, the SDG Young Leaders Program will endorse Siraj. The SDG Youth Media Taskforce will coordinate the activities under this MoU.

Mona Al Marri said: “In line with the leadership’s directives to equip youth with tomorrow’s skills, we remain keen to support initiatives focused on developing the Emirati youth’s critical future skills needed for the workplace. The Siraj skill-development programme is in line with the UAE’s objectives to expand the role of Emirati youth and upskill them for the future. The programme aligns with the objectives of the UAE’s SDG Young Leaders Programme, a national initiative to boost the participation of the UAE’s youth in sustainability initiatives.”

Al Marri noted that it was ideal that the agreement was signed at the AMF, the largest annual gathering of media leaders and content creators in the Arab world. “Media is at a crossroads today. It is evident that, for its sustainable future, Arab media needs to pay more attention to the youth. Skill-development programmes such as Siraj are one way to engage the region’s youth and enhance their competitiveness with skills of the future,” said Al Marri.

The SDG Youth Media Taskforce aims to educate, captivate, and accelerate youth’s involvement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlighting the media’s power and how youth approach media to achieve the SDGs.

The MoU will serve SDG 17, which calls for a global partnership between governments, private sector and society to achieve sustainable development through various means, including developing the skills of youth. The memorandum also supports SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Participants of the Siraj programme will learn the fundamentals of critical future skills, including design and critical thinking, strategy planning, debate, and storytelling skills, increasing the competitiveness of young Emiratis entering or advancing in the job market.

Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar said: “Modern workplaces require creativity, communication and critical leadership abilities. These programmes will upskill the future-facing capabilities of participating students. The partnership aligns with AGFE’s goal to equip and empower our youth to succeed in the workplace, helping them to strive towards leadership across all social, political and economic domains. It is a great pleasure for the Foundation to craft this programme with CNN Arabic, an organisation that shares our values and is passionate about empowering Emirati and Arab youth. The six-week Siraj programme will enrich our youth with new opportunities when entering journalism and tell them the untold stories of many inspirational women across the region.”