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UAE's Arab Youth Center launches new initiative to nurture technology leaders
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 28 - 10 - 2020

The Arab Youth Center (AYC) headed by Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the minister of presidential affairs, has introduced the technology fellowship program for Arab youth in partnership with major global technology companies and platforms. The first initiative of its kind in the Arab region seeks to equip young Arabs with vital technology skills and provide them with the opportunity to drive the development of the digital economy in their countries.
The initiative, which was launched at a virtual event drawing the participation of many prominent people and representatives of the program's partners, aims to build a new generation of young Arab leaders in various technology disciplines that are essential for developing a knowledge-and innovation-based economy.
Blending technology theory with practice, it seeks to bridge the digital skills gap, enable Arab youth to connect with the world's most prominent tech influencers and learn from their experience and expertise, open new horizons of creativity, and support young innovators in this vital field.
Accenture, the center's knowledge and innovation partner, has conducted detailed research to understand the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed while preparing Arab youth for the future of work and technology.
Based on the findings of the study, the technology fellowship program for Arab Youth features four strategic paths: digital transformation, interactive technologies, information, and communications technology, and innovation and emerging technologies. Empowering young Arabs in their homelands, the initiative aspires to contribute to fast-tracking the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies in the Arab world.
Sheikh Rashid Al Nuaimi said, "Investing in the technology knowledge of Arab youth is the fastest way to advance development in the region that is full of bright young minds with immense creative potential.
"The UAE's youth empowerment model is built on the belief in the capabilities of young people and a commitment to helping them translate their ambitions into reality. A successful young generation is synonymous with self-fulfillment, prosperity, and growth."
He called for stepping up collaboration in equipping young Arabs with advanced technology skills so that they can lead the digital transformation of vital economic sectors. This will ultimately enhance the rankings of Arab countries in development indices and allow them to retain young local tech talent.
Shamma Al Mazrui said: "The transformation of the economy, education, and work that is underway worldwide has proven that youth capacity building has a significant positive impact on society. This is the optimal path for achieving sustainable development and turning challenges into opportunities in the Arab region. The technology fellowship program for Arab Youth builds on Arab achievements in technology and boosts the global competitiveness of Arab talent."
She added: "We seek to harness the potential of young Arabs to leverage technology to ensure a better future for their countries. Our integrated and interactive technology training program guarantees equal opportunities compared to their global peers, and enables them to access cutting-edge tech applications."
Global partnerships She noted that AYC's partnerships with some of the largest tech corporations in the region and beyond provide state-of-the-art tools to support creativity and digital innovation.
The program has engaged Accenture as a knowledge partner. Other partners include Schneider Electric, Google, Cisco, Canon, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle Academy, Jibrel Network, G42, Ericsson, Dubai Internet City, Huawei, and LinkedIn. In addition, it targets collaborations with multiple public and private sector entities that run youth empowerment initiatives.
For his part, Saeed Al Nazari said: "The fellowship program aims to connect Arab youth to decision-makers in the technology sector to establish a network of future tech leaders who spearhead the development of their societies."
He added: "In line with the disruptive changes in today's world of education, work, and production, the latest addition to AYC's series of programs leverages AR, VR, and AI technologies to offer a unique learning experience tailored to youth's requirements. The initiative aspires to help shape the future of vital sectors in cooperation with global specialist partners that provide advanced training delivered by digital skills experts."
Alexis Lecanuet, Regional Managing Director of Accenture MENA, said: "Investments in technology and its applications continue to grow globally, especially with the rapid rise of new work and learning patterns in today's world, supported by digital transformation and advanced technology applications, such as big data, communications, and artificial intelligence. Accenture anticipates that countries of the MENA region that invest in emerging technologies and build national competencies in this field will significantly enhance the contribution of technology sectors to their income. In this context, our cooperation with the technology fellowship program for Arab Youth contributes to empowering young people in the region and supports their development pathways."
During the launch of the technology fellowship program for Arab Youth and Accenture released a joint research paper on preparing Arab youth for the future of work and keeping pace with technology developments. The study highlights the importance of detailed monitoring of the developments in self-directed, continuous, and open learning and skills development patterns, in addition to proposing an intensive learning program, customized to match individual needs, that provides youth with technology-based practical experience.
Statistics by Microsoft and ICD indicate that cloud computing could create 515,000 jobs in the Arab world between 2017 and 2022.
Within its main strategic paths, the technology fellowship program for Arab Youth intends to focus on several key segments. These include cloud computing, financial technology, technology enterprise solutions, distance learning, cybersecurity, technology entrepreneurship, hardware, software, application development, interactive technologies, and electronic transmission technologies.
In its first cohort, the program aims to attract 100 Arabs between the ages of 18 and 30 years. Among the target group are recent graduates in technical engineering and information technology disciplines, technology researchers and innovators, and people with interest, achievements and experience and interest in the areas covered by the program.
The three-month intensive course seeks to provide theoretical knowledge and practical training through the application of a distance learning model and digital interaction between the program's members from their locations in various parts of the Arab world. — WAM

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