EMPOWER 2015: DAY 3 Media Briefing | Press Releases

EMPOWER 2015: DAY 3 Media Briefing
15 March 2015

EMPOWER tops Twitter

Over the weekend, EMPOWER’s official Twitter hashtag, #EMPOWER2015, became the number one trending topic in Qatar, with an online conversation generating well over 11,400 tweets by young people from Qatar, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Asia and North America who came to Doha for the three-day event. The hashtag also ranked among top Twitter trends worldwide.

Region’s youth form task force for peace at Doha summit

At the conclusion of a major education and community development summit in Doha, youth leaders from 23 countries – across the Middle East, Asia and Africa - announced the formation of a special task force to give young people a more prominent voice in building “peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development” across the region.

On the third and final day of the EMPOWER conference, hosted by Qatar-based education NGO Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), a task force of 20 youth leaders convened a special session to begin identifying a list of recommendations that support the Post-2015 Development Agenda of the United Nations – specifically those objectives related to youth, access to education and promoting peace.

The recommendations of the task force will form the basis of a Global Advocacy Campaign that will seek to create linkages with key youth forums, conferences and meetings around the world including the World Humanitarian Youth Summit, which Doha will host in September 2015, it was announced.

450 youth between 16-27 years were in attendance at EMPOWER 2015 representing Qatar, KSA, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Cambodia, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, UK, Netherlands, Greece, Ethiopia, Canada, USA, Kirgizstan, Bolivia and Sri Lanka.

Now in its seventh year, EMPOWER is organised by Reach out to Asia (ROTA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), supporting its mission to unlock human potential and building strong, sustainable communities in Qatar and the region.

ROTA Youth Service Club Award winners announced

At EMPOWER’s closing ceremony on Saturday, Her Excellency Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, ROTA Board Member and Essa Al Manaai, ROTA Executive Director, named winners of the ROTA Youth Service Club (RYSC) Awards – a key element of ROTA’s ongoing efforts to empower, equip and invest in the youth of Qatar by establishing a network of clubs to lead citizenship initiatives in the local community. In the Best Project, Best Team Work and Best Achievement categories, the winners were One Society One Family, Kadem and Count on Me, respectively:

•    Led by a group of university students, One Society One Family is focused on bridging the gap between different groups of people. Through several high profile events, the group created opportunities for young people to enjoy activities - like gardening, games, sewing and other handicrafts - with their hearing impaired peers and other young people with disabilities.

•    Kadem is a club that aims to boost leadership skills among youth by implementing a series of workshops to inspire and equip community leaders. The training they led covered topics such as Public Speaking, Positive Attitudes and Self Confidence.

•    Count on Me is a club based in Qatar’s Al Bayan Secondary Independent School, and aims to create awareness among students and local communities on the benefits of recycling and its economic and environmental value – a key pillar of sustainable development. The team of young girls had organised a fundraising campaign that started with engaging young students from the school in preparing recycled artwork, which was sold at a three day exhibition hosted at Katara Cultural Village. Revenue from the artwork supported Syrian refugees.

A special RYSC award was also given to ROTA Youth Advisory Board member and local volunteer leader, Ibrahim Yasser.

More from Day 3

Also on Day 3 of EMPOWER, youth delegates conducted several off site visits including a cultural heritage tour of Al Shaqab – a world-class equestrian facility in Doha. Additionally, the 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s Generation Amazing Ambassadors presented their achievements engaging young and communities through sport in Brazil at the FIFA 2014 World Cup. The young Qatari ambassadors joined their peers from Nepal, Pakistan and Jordan to make a positive social impact through football. Collectively, they took part in more than 36 hours of leadership training and 184 football matches.

A film written and directed by Sana Al-Ansari, in conjunction with Doha Film Institute, was also screened at the closing ceremony. The short film, which was Al-Ansari’s first, focused on road safety in Qatar – a key issue facing the community according to the young filmmaker.

Day 3 quote attributable to Sahar Al-Ansari, EMPOWER MC and Youth Advisory Board member:

“Every part of EMPOWER was brainstormed and planned – from A to Z – by youth. This year I think young people learned so much at EMPOWER because they heard from global figures but also inspired each other. They had variety – people from older and younger generations – all with the same message: There is nothing called future leaders, there are only leaders today. We picked peace because in the Middle East there is a lot of conflict and we wanted to show the world that we can collaborate and work together.”

Day 3 quote attributable to Her Excellency Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, ROTA Board Member

“Current events around the world, especially in this region, have challenged our notions of peaceful societies and forced a rethink of what we can do to improve human security, prosperity and happiness. EMPOWER is about walking the walk - providing the skills, knowledge and inspiration to tackle pressing issues like peace and encouraging youth to take a more active role in promoting peace within their societies. The enthusiasm, cross-border connections made, and discussions at this year’s edition of EMPOWER took the event to new heights and I am excited to see EMPOWER continue to grow each year.”

Day 3 quote attributable to Essa Al Manaai, ROTA Executive Director

“Though we started with only around one hundred people back in 2009, EMPOWER has indeed grown into something much greater - amplifying the voice of youth on the global stage. EMPOWER is built for youth, by youth and would not have been possible without the late nights and early mornings invested by its talented and tireless Youth Planning Committee. EMPOWER’s legacy of imparting knowledge and inspiring community leaders to have a voice on key issues expanded significantly this year – not only in Qatar but across the region.”