Hosted by Education Above All (EAA) Foundation’s programme, Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), the three-day action packed Empower Youth Conference 2019, Qatar’s largest annual youth gathering, was brimming with exciting knowledge sessions with over 500 young people between the ages of 16-32 including international participants attending the forum. Organized under the theme “Youth – A Catalyst for Peach and Dialogue for Development”, Empower 2019 established the role of youth as agents and catalysts for peace and dialogue for sustainable development.
EMPOWER has over the years developed a reputation for being the first youth led conference to focus on equipping young people in Qatar to take active roles in building their communities and having a voice on global issues.
The three-day event included a combination of seminars, panel discussions, keynote speeches, small group workshops, seminars, off-site activities, exhibition and youth artistic expression. Power speech and Keynote speeches inspired, informed and mobilized young delegates to act on the main learning theme of the conference, which is the role of youth as agents and catalysts for peace and dialogue for sustainable development.
The biggest achievement of this year’s Empower conference was the commitment by the youth to work for peace in their communities around the world and make every possible effort to unite a divided world where civilizations clash. The youth participants also renewed their belief to create a world of social, economic and environmental justice and equity. They also reiterated their commitment to recognize common humanity, where no human being or community is put down so another can advance and work towards a better world.
Furthermore, Empower 2019 conference has announced the launch of three major initiatives to address with the urgent need for global citizenship and global challenges. The first initiative is the formation of Empower task force on peacebuilding. The aiming of this task force is to produce a toolkit to equip Marginalized Youth on peace-building and mediation. The task-force will be composed of expert organizations including Search for Common Ground, UNDP, Coaches Across Continents, working side by side with youth participating at EMPOWER from different parts of the world.
The second initiative is to being a network for participants of EMPOWER conference to coordinate their peacebuilding and mediation activities. A Facebook group has already been set up and the name of the page is Together for Peace to reach more youth how share common interest. The third and the last initiative is to start a ‘Together for Peace Campaign’ to build momentum of young people to become peacebuilders and mediators. The campaign aims to reach one million youth from different parts of the world and to get them engaged in activities leading up to Qatar 2020 Peace Conference on youth participation in peacebuilding processes.
The ROTA Youth Service Clubs (RYSC) awards ceremony was also held to recognise the efforts of the four winning clubs on their community service projects. Five prizes were awarded to following project: “Women Leaders” for the Leadership award, “Read it and present it” for Agent of Change award, “Greener Future” for Global Citizenship award, “EZZHLHA” for Technology Utilization award, and “Moubsiroun” for Innovation award.
With such an impressive lineage of programs, Empower 2019 Conference was successful in serving as an important forum to promote the importance of collaborating and engaging with youth in peace-building strategies with community actors, relevant international organizations and United Nations bodies. It focused on enhancing the values of peace, tolerance, inclusivity and moderation through intercultural dialogue that will help youth delegates build the awareness, knowledge and skills required to actively participate in the process of peacebuilding in a meaningful way, as well as guided them to acknowledge the importance of youth protection, and the role they can play in promoting intercultural understanding.