ABU DHABI // Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed has told Emirati youth to think beyond expectations of “comfortable” government jobs and prepare to compete with the rest of the world.
“If you want to participate in shaping the future then you need to stop thinking of a government job,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.
“No other country in the region supports youth-led projects like the UAE. It is one the easiest countries to set up a run a business, so start your own business and corporations.”
He spoke on Tuesday at the Mohammed bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations in Abu Dhabi, which brought together more than 3,000 Emirati university students.
While many see globalisation as one of the biggest challenges, Sheikh Abdullah said he sees it as an opportunity.
“It’s an opportunity to compete. You are no longer competing amongst yourselves but with the greatest minds around the world,” he said.
He encouraged youth to develop their skills and gain more to keep pace with the latest technological and global advances.
“I invite you to seize the opportunity and the opportunities available around you,” he said. “Invest your precious time in your education so you can be ready for your working life.”
Youth must be more “serious and dedicated”, he said, with more ambitions and hope, and a desire to develop and give more to their country.
There are no more “comfortable” jobs in the UAE, he said, because the Government is looking towards the future, envisioning projects in renewable energy and a colony on Mars.
Fields such as renewable and nuclear energy are ones that he never imagined studying in university, he said.
“Now the opportunities of development in these fields are more than ever. We can now take part and participate in international development,” said Sheikh Abdullah.
“Brothers and sisters, those made the biggest and greatest changes in the world and in our lives are not those who learned more, but those who were dedicated.”
The Minister of State for Youth and the Ministers of Higher Education, Climate Change and Environment, also spoke at the start of the two-day summit.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, visited the exhibition after its launch. He will deliver an address on Wednesday.
Sheikh Mohammed said Emirati youth are capable of presenting “innovative initiatives and creative solutions to tackle challenges”.
“We encourage and provide them what it takes to excel in education and scientific research while adopting their ideas and innovations in different fields,” he said.
Shamma Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth, said Sheikh Abdullah’s speech was inspiring, particularly when he said there were no comfortable jobs in the government of the UAE. The summit was aimed at inspiring youth and supporting them in building the future.
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, said the majlis is way to inspire students and provides them an opportunity to choose their careers. One of the messages from the summit is the importance of investment in one’s self.
“A university degree alone is not enough to face the changes of the job market,” he said.
Living in a technological age means the skills a student acquires today might not be required by the job market once he or shee graduates, he said, so it is important to invest in one’s self and constantly keep abreast of changes.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, hosted a session during which he highlighted the pivotal role that UAE youth play in combating climate change and advancing the protection of natural resources.
He said climate change will affect all inhabitants of the Earth and will lead communities to change their lifestyles.
“Climate change affects the fundamentals of our daily lives, such as the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the work we do and the house we live in,” he said.
“Innovation and creativity are the fundamental pillars of sustainable and nontraditional solutions adopted by the UAE in its journey towards sustainability and decreasing the effects of climate change and adapting to it.”