Tag Archives: youth

People are at the heart of action for a more sustainable world


My top 4 inspiring messages from the International Government Communication Forum 2017:1. You are good enough… you are powerful!

Inspired by my interview with Prof. Muhammad Yunus

Young people are powerful and with technology at the tip of their fingers, they are extra powerful. If you don’t realize that you have the power, you won’t be able to use it. If each of the leaders in this world looked in the eyes of a young person and said that statement, miracles will happen! Despite the global slogans on youth empowerment, that action could be very simple and effective. Think big and then test your idea on a small scale. But always believe you are capable of achieving your dream.

2. From vision to reality… Youth are the core of sustainability!

Inspired by my interview with HE Dr Thani AlZeyoudi

Proper planning is key to transforming vision into reality. My part of world has not been keen to have long-term plans due to several factors on top of which is the regional instability and scarce natural resources. The UAE Cabinet just announced its Centennial 2071 project to make the UAE the best country in the world by 2071. Zooming into the environment and climate change sectors, the UAE is already making steps towards a happy and sustainable society.

While investing in renewable energy generation, the efficiency of buildings and manufacturing, HSE standards for the Oil & GAS industry, modernizing transportation infrastructure and fleet, using renewable energy for water desalination, and many other green growth strategies; the UAE is also investing in its youth. The upcoming challenge they seek to tackle is the transformation towards the knowledge economy. Youth are part of climate change meetings and conferences (including COP). Dr. Thani discussed a youth council was established at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to ensure the voice of the future is heard in all their strategic meetings. The UAE has also started an initiative to create a network of climate negotiators with focus on youth engagement because youth are at the heart of sustainability!

3. Conventional businesses, FYI — CSR is out of date!

Inspired by my interview with Prof. Muhammad Yunus

Almost 1% of world’s population owns 99% of world’s wealth. Yunus warns that with time, things will get worse. He advocates for a new sector: the citizens sector. This sector would work on solving problems in a business-oriented way, what is called a social business. A social business is a non-dividend company created to solve your problems. While conventional businesses are profit-oriented and potentially use corporate social responsibility concept to show they care about social issues; Yunus calls for partnerships and joint ventures between the conventional businesses and social businesses to move from CSR towards creating sustainable social impact. Conventional businesses have a lot of experience in running businesses and social innovators have a lot of passion to solve the world’s problems. Let’s start today and find a good match to make an impact!

4. You and I should change the machine!

Inspired by my interview with Prof. Muhammad Yunus

I’ve learned that there is a ‘right’ microcredit and a ‘wrong’ microcredit. If microcredit is helping the poor improve their lives, then it is the ‘right’ one. But if it helps rich people make money then it the ‘wrong’ one. Using Yunus’s words, microcredit is financial oxygen and once supplied to poor people, they are brought back to life and productivity. Looking at how this is done today in many parts of the world, a change is indeed needed.

A re-design of the financial system to ensure that the wealth distribution gap is reduced and that innovative financing models are tailored to suit the needs of the poor. Who would lead this re-design process? You and I, as per Prof. Yunus. People made the financial machine and if it is harmful to us, we should not continue using it. You and I can change the machine and we shouldn’t wait for someone else to do that. Boosting local green and social solutions require a new way of doing things and a new financing machine. In Bangladesh, over 1.5 million homes use solar energy because of an innovative financing machine that has been operational for 18 years. Just think of the huge potential for massive climate solutions that better people’s lives.

Contributed to the +SocialGood platform:
View story at Medium.com

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Getting to know a place through the hearts of its people: a morning at King’s Academy


I should admit I’m getting more used to women gatherings. I said this before but I was never a gender advocate until I recently started to enjoy women-to-women empowerment and mentorship. This time it wasn’t only the women or the place – as great as they are, to be honest, it was my curiosity that got me on the road to Madaba on a rainy day.

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Whether through friends and contacts, media or news; I knew very little about King’s Academy. It was the case until King’s Academy entered the international community as the host for the Global Forum for Youth, Peace and Security in August 2015 under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II. With the special coverage by Roya TV, Jordanians got to know and see more of this great school. Listening to the student who joined King’s Academy from and UNRWA school made the case for a new perception.

Yesterday, I couldn’t resist the temptation to go and here we are: a group of the Business and Professional Women Association – Amman (BPWa) welcomed at Beit Al Mudeer by a group of women who turned out to be a source of light and inspiration.

Upon arrival, warm welcome remarks by our host fellow member Reem Masri and then short but to the point remarks by her colleagues were enough to trigger dozens of questions in our heads. The spontaneous and genuine staff members spoke with unbeatable passion about what King’s Academy is all about.  They were kind enough to take our many questions and provide answers on various aspects including students’ selection and admission, management, discipline, staff development programs, etc. We knew that King’s Academy is targeting outstanding students from all over Jordan and from various schools to invite them and their parents to see the school and learn more about the application process. King’s Academy is doing a lot of fundraising to be able to support those who can’t afford the fees but deserve to be in such a life-changing experience. We also learned that students are treated equally and that they are requested to implement programs with the surrounding community in Madaba. And I couldn’t hide my wide smile and great admiration when I found out that the whole campus is strictly smoke-free.

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After the good talk – which by the way showed that the staff and students do speak Arabic, we wanted to see and experience things on campus. The tour in the campus was quite refreshing. The natural green space and well designed buildings and facilities put you in a different mood. Intruding into a classroom during a Physics class enabled us to meet a teacher and some students trying to solve a problem through practical use of instruments. Since this was a course that all students should take, the class had students from different ages which we thought might add value to the learning process.

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Moving on to the dining hall, each of us was seated on a table to join a normal daily lunch. Before anyone is allowed to sit down, a prayer was said by a teacher quoting a Hadith Sharif  ” الحمدلله الذي أطعمني هذا الطعام ورزقنيه من غير حول لي ولا قوة ” and then translating it to English. Everyone was listening and then we took our seats. Two of the students on each table were bringing the food to the table and helping the assigned teacher serve food for everyone. We all waited till everyone got their share and then started eating. I really hoped to have more time to speak to the students but it was clear they were tired and just wanted a break J

After we finished eating, the same students who brought the food collected the empty plates and cleaned remaining food. There was enough food but not too much, something I highly appreciate from an ethical and sustainable behavior perspective. The meal was very modest and consisted from salad, chicken, fried potatoes and water.

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The next stop was the Spiritual Center. King Abdullah II Spiritual Center, a multi-faith house of prayer and meditation is located on campus to accommodate the spiritual needs of a diverse religious community. King’s Academy also arranges weekly visits for those students wishing to attend prayers and services at local mosques or churches. I only saw this before during my travel to the US and the UK in places like Georgetown University where there is a prayers room in the basement. Knowing that King’s Academy has the majority of its students from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Korea makes me so proud to see such respect for diversity, a real Islamic value.

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His Majesty King Abdullah II vision for King’s Academy to be a school of peace and transformation is guiding everyone’s effort and belief in young people as our greatest resource – and hope – for the future. If you are a student at King’s, be sure that Jordan is counting a lot on leaders like you to be role models, transformers and real humans.

Thanks to BPWa for making this possible. Thank you Reem, Monica and all the great King’s Academy team for giving the visit such a special flavor.

To be continued……

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