ABU DHABI, � Around 30 youth discussed their challenges, fears and aspirations for the future at a special session during the second day of the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament 2016, at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

Titled 'Youth Perspectives', the seventh session dominated the conversation with three major themes of this year's summit: socio-economics, science and technology, and geopolitics.

Participants included Saeed Saleh Al Rumaithi, Member of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC) and President of the Board of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Forum of Young Parliamentarians, Alya Soliman Al-Jassim, Member of the FNC, Jacobo Pombo Garcia, President of the Global Youth Leadership Forum, and Jamie Woodruff, ethical hacker.

A number of students from Khalifa University, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, New York University Abu Dhabi, Higher Colleges of Technology and Zayed University also attended the session. Frank Sesno, Director of George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, led the discussion.

Kicking off the panel, Al Rumaithi highlighted the importance of engaging the young generation, saying, "I thank the IPU for supporting young people. At this year's convention in Geneva, I was pleased to see an increase in youth participation."

He said, "Out of 45,000 parliamentarians worldwide, youth aged from 18 to 30 only make up 1.9 per cent, and 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 added.

Jacobo Pombo Garcia 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."

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 labour is not valuable anymore. The new generation is entering the workforce and we have a responsibility to ensure that they are prepared. To do this, we need to update the way we search for jobs and plan careers. Most importantly, the youth has to prepare for the future by investing in themselves."

One common question arose throughout the panel discussion: What can the youth who do not have the means to pursue an education do to prepare for the future? Jamie Woodruff answered by sharing his personal story. He 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."

Among the university students on the panel, each had their unique perspective and suggestions for tackling the future challenges that the youth will face.

Source: Emirates News Agency