Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament discusses youth issues

`Youth Perspectives’, the seventh session of the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament 2016, convened panelists under the age of 30 to discuss their challenges, fears and aspirations for the future. Dominating the conversation were the three major themes of this year’s summit: socioeconomics, science and technology and geopolitics.

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While recent years have seen an increased effort to involve the youth in international gatherings, a fresh IPU study shows that its participation in government remains very low with less than 1.9 percent of members of parliament under 30 years of age. Panelists noted youth is our future and changes need to be implemented to ensure that this crucial demographic is not being overlooked in planning for the future.

Saeed Saleh Al Rumaithi, member of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC), highlighted the importance of engaging the young generation.

He said: “Out of 45,000 parliamentarians worldwide, youth aged from 18 to 30 only make up 1.9 per cent. In collaboration with the UN, we are working actively to increase this number through various initiatives.”

It is important for the youth to be involved while they are still young because the decisions of today will affect their tomorrow. Parliamentarians need to take the necessary steps through legislation and ratification of related UN decisions and international agreements, he said.

Turning point

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Jacobo Pombo Garcia, president of the Global Youth Leadership Forum, said: “We are at a turning point in history, where many sectors are being either reinvented or left behind completely. This, along with many socio-economic and geopolitical factors, has led to staggering youth unemployment numbers, which can be detrimental not only to the individuals affected but to society as a whole.”

He added: “It is important to see the main challenges that the world will face from the youth’s perspective. Young people need to identify and discuss the real issues. Most importantly, the youth needs to understand that they are responsible for their own future and governments need to help awaken this sense of responsibility.”

Modern technology

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FNC member Alya Soliman Al Jassim said: “While modern technology has brought about changes in all industries and consequently in the job market, this does not mean that labor is not valuable anymore. The new generation is entering the workforce and we have a responsibility to ensure that they are prepared.”

Ethical hacker Jamie Woodruff said: “Young people should have no limits. They should use their ambitions and aspirations to achieve whatever they want. My ambition allowed me to use my computer to create my own opportunities.”

Transformative technology

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn  Hewson spoke on the role of transformative technology in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges and discussed actions that government, industry and society can take to encourage technological transformation in the future.

She highlighted the importance of government, industry and academia working hand-in-hand to create a sustainable future. Commenting on the summit, Hewson said: “It is a special honor to be in Abu Dhabi as the UAE makes history as the first nation in the Middle East to host the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament.”

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