Youth empowerment is key focus for UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by MiSK in Saudi Arabia

Re-thinking education to give youth the skills they need for the future 

2 May, 2017 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:  The 7th UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) which opens today (Wednesday 3 May, 2017) in Riyadh, is focused on developing practical ideas to empower the youth of the world to make a positive social impact.

The Forum, which has attracted more than 400 NGOs and over 2,100 delegates from around the world.  It will be addressed by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and a number of high profile speakers, including Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, nine time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, and Justin Smith, chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group.

Bader Alasaker, Secretary-General of MiSK, said:  “Around the world, economic growth and job creation are being impacted by the paradox of both a rapidly rising population and a skills crisis of young people without the relevant skills for the jobs of the future.

“This imbalance puts a strain on governments to provide support and inhibits the ability of nations to grow and innovate.  This is why the UNESCO NGO Forum hosted by MiSK is focused on developing ideas which deliver real, tangible results to give youth the skills they need for the future in an increasingly automated and technology driven world.”

The Future of Jobs study published last year by the World Economic Forum indicated that today’s youth need very different skill sets with a focus on critical thinking, creativity and problem solving abilities.  Most importantly, the study recognizes that soft skills and emotional intelligence will become key attributes needed by all.

“Collectively we need to turn rhetoric into reality and platforms like the UNESCO NGO Forum are a catalyst for ideas which empower youth around the world to shape their own, and their societies, futures,” said Mr Alasaker.

“In fast growing and emerging economies this means that innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity are at a premium, and that’s why the focus of the Forum is on bringing together many of the world’s leading youth entrepreneurs to deliver actionable insights.”

The 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.

It is a non-profit organization which works to develop a knowledge-based economy by promoting practical schemes to support young people in developing the right entrepreneurial and cognitive skills.

Through keynote speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions, the forum will focus on the following topics:

  • Youth engagement and its potential for social change
  • Optimizing the impact of the digital native – and managing the risk
  • Educating for a sustainable future
  • What skills for young people today?

Breakout sessions will also delve more specifically into the following sub-themes:

  • Youth entrepreneurship and volunteering: promoting engagement at local and international levels
  • Protection of cultural heritage: can young people make a difference?
  • Using digital tools for the promotion of social interaction and engagement
  • Maximizing the fight against climate change for sustainable development
  • Fostering equal opportunities for young men and women
  • Ensuring complementarity between formal and informal education