ABU DHABI, Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, and Shamma bint Sohail Faris AlMazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, held on Monday two interactive Twitter dialogue sessions, welcoming ideas and answering questions posed by the public.

The exchange preceded the Giving Retreat, which was launched under the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Retreat will take place on Wednesday February 1, bringing together experts, stakeholders and officials to pool ideas and approaches to the UAE's efforts to boost giving and philanthropy at both national and regional levels and place giving at the heart of the national agenda.

Ohood Al Roumi said, "The goal of the Year of Giving, as per the direction of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is to institutionalise the value of giving by introducing sustainable policies and standards. This is one of the objectives behind the Giving Retreat - to set a strategic framework for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through policies that encourage and reinforce CSR in the private sector, and for Volunteerism, through policies that encourage, support and guide volunteers and protect their rights."

Replying to a question about the difference between Volunteerism and Serving the Nation, Al Roumi said, "Serving the Nation is a great value we aim to instill in all our youth and future generations, while volunteerism is a lifestyle which nurtures talents giving back to society every day."

She also elaborated that the role of humanitarian organisations should be enhanced in the development sector and go beyond providing aid; as it stands today the UAE is already a leader in humanitarian aid both regionally and internationally.

The Minister of State for Happiness continued, stating that "The Year of Giving is a reminder that happiness and giving are deeply intertwined concepts."

Shamma Al Mazrui said: "The announcement of the Year of Giving by the UAE President is a turning point for imparting the culture of Volunteerism and Serving the Nation in new generations. Our youth hold the values of giving and love for their country deep inside them as they were planted in us by our leadership; the challenge is to find the right opportunities for them to give back with their talent."

On implementing the concept of Serving the Nation in schools, Her Excellency said, "We will work on a strategic framework with the Ministry of Education in order to develop this concept among students."

On Volunteering, the Minister State for Youth Affairs stated, "We are creating a platform that will capture volunteer efforts across the nation. We hope the recognition will motivate and inspire more youth to volunteer and give back. Everyone can contribute their ideas, talents and insights; the space is available for everyone to make a positive impact."

She concluded her Twitter dialogue with an optimistic message; "We shared over ten viable and workable approaches in the last hour. Imagine what we can do together in one year?"

Both ministers praised the valuable feedback that they received today, and said they look forward to all the opportunities that the Year of Giving will bring to the UAE.

Source: Emirates News Agency