By Hassan Aboul-Enein, GSD alumnus
Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Class of 2017
This is simply the single word that describes my feelings after participating in the modalities of the World Youth Forum held in Sharm El Sheikh in November 2017. I am also more energised to reach and conclude my ambition of contributing to the policy change that fosters good governance while contributing to the creation of an international democratic and equitable international order.
One may wonder how does it feel to be attending a conference with a cohort of youth from over 130 countries? Without a single shred of doubt, such experiences promise to be mesmerising and fruitful at the same time. However, for us the ”Students and Alumni” of the Geneva School of diplomacy we experience this on a day to day basis, whether in our classrooms or just wandering around Geneva and the corners of the World. I came to cherish my education and experience even more, after attending this event, but my momentum in reaching my ambition and sharing my experience dwelled.
For 5 days, I had the pleasure to attend sessions and deliberations about topics of entrepreneurship, sustainable investment, public policy, technological innovation, climate change, conflict resolution and development.
Some speeches were moving such as that of Lamiya Aji Bashar, a former captive of ISIS who was sold into slavery, managing to escape after horrific experiences, no one can endure. While others were transposing change, such as women talking about empowerment in the MENA region, or other businesses and leaders in Africa explaining their activities in creating resilient communities and urban societies. A great inspiration was Rachel Sibande; a young Malawian entrepreneur who created Malawi’s first technological hub and tremendously contributed to social change in the African continent. Other speeches also highlighted the future of cybersecurity and digitization and the yielded benefits it may harvest in education, e-governance and e-health.
What was even of a more mesmerizing stance was the opportunity to be in Sharm El-Sheikh, the Red Sea’s and Sinai’s peace jewel. A city that has endured war, aggression, terrorism, and peace to become a hub of knowledge and natural beauty.
An outcome declaration was adopted by the Forum, focusing on supporting youthful inclusion in the Arab region, complementing sustainable development efforts and counterterrorism in the region and across the globe. Although many challenges exist and many topics such as human rights and transitional justice were not discussed openly, but this forum was a cornerstone in taking the first step in an uphill journey for Egypt and the Arab world. I am already looking forward to coming back and participating in the second edition to be held in 2018.
One recommendation I can solidly advise and affirm is: As the world around us expands and as we embark on a new wave of globalisation under the umbrella of the ‘’4th industrial revolution’’, new intricate and persistent challenges arise, threatening the pillars of governance in the 21st century. Thus, dialogue, diversity, and inclusion are keys and vital lifelines for any governance mechanism, but most importantly the millennials and youth of this generation are the portals to such empowerment and strategic change. We have to learn from each other’s experiences and continue to share innovative ideas that will parachute us towards good-governance, peace, security and sustainable development.