Dubai, UAE: The Youth Council at EY MENA launched an initiative to develop the Federal Youth Authority’s (FYA) ‘Youth Councils Manual’, which provides an overview of the opportunities and benefits Youth Councils offer their members.
The Manual additionally outlines the extensive network of Youth Councils in the UAE, which are supervised by the Federal Youth Authority, in addition to detailing the procedure by which they are formed and summarising the processes put in place to ensure their seamless and efficient operations.
It breaks down the various types of Youth Councils, set up to engage the youth in community development efforts, outlines their governance structure and highlights their relationship with the FYA. The objective from launching the Manual was to provide a clear picture of the Youth Councils’ organisational structure, the selection criteria for the members, the evaluation mechanism, and the responsibilities of the Council.
The Federal Youth Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EY to expand and develop the Manual, in addition to providing training programmes for Youth Council members, offering professional programmes through the Emirates Youth Professional School and other activations at the Youth Hub, and creating various other opportunities to cater to the youth and make a positive impact.
Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and FYA Chairperson, said: “The UAE has always been adamant to embrace and harness its young citizens’ capabilities, channelling their energy towards its plans for sustainable development and to ensure its competitiveness and be firmly at the forefront in every sector. This approach stems from the forward-thinking vision of our wise leadership, which has placed support for young people and achieving their aspirations at the top of its priorities.”
H.E. Al Mazrui explained that this step is part of the government’s continuous efforts to build on the successes achieved by the Youth Councils to empower and engage the youth in various sectors, in accordance with the aspirations of the UAE National Youth Agenda.
“We are in the next 50 years of our country’s development – the ‘post-oil’ era,” H.E. continued. “Youth are the catalysts for the next set of policies, actions, organisations, companies, and causes that will propel us into the inclusive, sustainable future we want. And all of that is made possible through effectively engaging the youth and actively listening to them.”
“The Youth Councils represent a unique experience in the UAE. They constitute an unprecedented approach to empowering the youth, particularly through the network of Youth Councils located across several major cities around, which aim to build strong relationships between young Emiratis and their international counterparts, and to take the UAE experience to the world,” H.E. Al Mazrui explained. “The Youth Councils are an essential part of the ecosystem of youth participation in decision making in the UAE. They represent the true voices of young people – their concerns, their dreams, their needs, their ideas, and their passions.”
“Today’s MoU signing between the Federal Youth Authority and Ernst & Young Middle East is a testament to the importance of and power in collaboration,” H.E. added. “It is a glimpse into what happens when both public and private sector actors place value on young people’s lives, development and their contributions to society. Collaboration happens when both parties recognise their strengths and weaknesses, and work hand in hand to produce the best outcome. Today, this MoU is that outcome.”
For his part, H.E. Saeed Al Nazari, Director General of the Federal Youth Authority, underlined the importance of collaborating with institutions like Ernst & Young Middle East that boast world-class expertise to develop objectives and procedures for Youth Councils. “This, in turn, will serve to accomplish tangible results that support our efforts to empower the youth to lead the future,” he added.
“We are working to document the Emirati experience in a comprehensive reference manual,” he asserted. “We look forward to completing the first Operations Manual for Youth Councils in line with the Youth Engagement Strategy, and strive to build capacities and create an environment that nurtures young talents.”
H.E. Al Nazari explained that the agreement signed with EY Middle East is the beginning of a long-term partnership with the private sector, which will enable a distinct model of joint cooperation to develop the capabilities of the youth and actively engage them in development efforts across all sectors. “The MoU also contributes to achieving the UAE’s vision for the next 50 years, which calls for optimising investment in the youth to enable them to come forward with innovative ideas to enhance performance,” H.E. continued.
“The Youth Councils Manual enhances the Councils’ role in providing a successful global Emirati model in empowering youth,” H.E. said. “It creates an opportunity for countries around the world to benefit from the UAE’s experience in empowering the youth and form their own Youth Councils where young people’s voices are heard and their aspirations made clear. The Councils offer a platform where the youth can express their opinions and play their part as a key contributor to the efforts to shape a better future for their communities and ensure development and prosperity.”
Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Al-Sowailim, MENA Chairman and CEO, EY, said: “We are excited to be working together with the Federal Youth Authority on multiple initiatives that will harness the skills and innovation of the youth in the United Arab Emirates and provide them with the right training sessions and professional programmes to empower them. EY is among the first adopters of the Youth Council within our own organisation and have a wealth of knowledge to share from our own experience. We take great pride in being a part of the UAE’s success story and contributing to the UAE Vision 2021 through our collaborations with the UAE government and private-sector entities on youth initiatives.”
Youth Councils aim to bring together local groups of young people, harness their potential, and engage them in national sustainable development efforts. They seek to support the youth’s loyalty and allegiance to the UAE and its leadership, and to train local and international youth leaders who can promote dialogue and openness, advocating for such principles as moderation and tolerance.
The Youth Councils strive to empower young people and enable them to forecast the future as a means to face challenges; they are a platform for youth engagement and global action. Members of the Councils act as representatives of young people in their communities, making sure their voices are heard. They are leaders playing a significant role in setting policies and shaping opportunities that benefit the entire youth segment and society as a whole.