Self-expression, social media and dialogue are essential to empower youth, says HRH Princess Banderi A.R. AlFaisal

Director General of the King Khaled Foundation speaks on youth engagement panel at UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by MiSK in Riyadh

3rd May 2017 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – HRH Princess Banderi A.R. AlFaisal said that engagement and dialogue with youth to encourage self-expression are essential to empower them to make a positive social impact.

Speaking in her capacity as Director General of the King Khalid Foundation, HRH Princess Banderi was participating in a panel session entitled “Youth Engagement and Its Potential for Social Change” at the UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) which opened today in Riyadh.

HRH Princess Banderi said:  “One of the biggest challenges we see is that young people feel that they are not engaged and involved in public policy decision-making which affects their daily lives.  To overcome this we created forums for youth dialogue about their hopes and aspirations, and then we developed capacity building programmes to prepare them for the workforce.”

Her Royal Highness was joined on the panel by Hila Azadzoy, Co-founder and Head of Academics, Kiron Open Higher Education; Tanzila Khan, Author & Disabled Rights Activist; and Benjamin Lough, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Illinois.

The panelists discussed the positive role of social media in building connections and communities amongst young people, and the importance of inspiration and vision.

“The key to engaging young people is to celebrate having a big vision and demonstrate that everyone can contribute and make an impact in whatever way is best for the individual. The important point is that the vision is the pathway to success,” said Ms Azafozy.

HRH Princess Banderi also emphasized the importance of the individual.  She said:  “The millennial generation is far more connected and engaged in the discussion than ever before.  Social media has enabled youth to express themselves but we should not think of young people as one entity.

“Young people are very diverse.  As individuals they have very different needs and very different aspirations.  We need to take into account their individual motivations to volunteer and actively participate in their communities and that means that the education system has to encourage and enable volunteerism.  The biggest challenge we face, in one word, is engagement.”

The two day UNESCO NGO Global Forum is hosted by the MiSK Foundation which was founded by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with a mission to empower, nurture and inspire Saudi Arabia’s youth to become active participants in the global economy.