UAE leaders outline a clear vision for 'The Next 50 Years'
The Mohamed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations 2021 has recently held its final chapter titled, ''The Next 50 Years''. With the theme Thriving in the Next Normal, speakers in the Majlis delved into the key enablers that will shape the country''s future.
Organised by the Education Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, the virtual event discussed prospects of doubling the UAE’s economy and young people’s role in these efforts.
Here are some of the key highlights from the virtual event:
‘The Next 50’ generation
Her Excellency Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future: “The UAE is committed to investing in human beings and empowering its citizens to take part in the national efforts to achieve the country’s aspirations to be a world leader in time for its Centennial.
The youth are the UAE’s end-goal and the engine driving our efforts to build a prosperous future. The government’s efforts to empower and upskill the youth echo the line of action championed by [our leadership] to empower the ‘Mission Generation’ – UAE youth who boast the skills, experience, and determination needed to shape a bright future.
The jobs of the future will rely on digitisation and technology. Demand is rising for specialists in data science, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, regenerative medicine, and genome medicine.
“It is critical that we support the youth to develop the skills of the future, and expand their ability to learn, develop, and adapt in order to prepare them to deal with rapid developments and to benefit from emerging opportunities."
Doubling the economy in the next 10 years
His Excelllency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, emphasised that attracting young minds and creative talents from around the world is a key objective for the UAE.
"We need to support innovation and entrepreneurship by creating a stimulating environment where copyright and intellectual property is guaranteed, and where support is available to help entrepreneurs turn these ideas into concrete projects.
Entrepreneurs are star players in a team that includes four other members, which are universities and colleges, large corporations, capital and funds, and the government, whose role is to identify potential challenges. The remaining players, meanwhile, work to develop solutions for them, relying on innovation and making use of available resources for success."
H.E. Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, spoke of the UAE Mars mission as an example of these ambitions.
“The mission has been a series of challenges, but it all started…with a leadership that dares to take audacious visions and transforms them into reality. That is one key for success for any nation that ventures into technology, space and into establishing its industry to be deeply rooted in technology.
When I looked up, around that tiny [red] dot revolved a piece of equipment that I had set my hands on and worked on for so many years. That for me was transformative. We avoided copying and pasting any model that existed. For us to have growth we need to continuously reinvent ourselves, be agile, and continue to discover the frontier. When you’re paving a new road, when you’re putting down new tracks, you’re creating a new journey.
You have to take daring, audacious dreams and transform them from hopes into reality,” H.E. Al Amiri concluded, addressing young participants and the youth in general."
Digital worlds and creativity superheroes
H.E. Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth highlighted how the unprecedented growth in digital technologies, combined with the new creative opportunities ushered in by immersive technologies, will translate into the creation of new global champions of creativity.
“This year, the UAE announced its talent visa, the golden visa and the talent citizenship in celebration of diversity. Because a cultural hero does not necessarily need to be an Emirati, but a resident of the UAE who embodies the ethos of the UAE as a nation, speaking to its universal values.
We are in living in uncertain times, yet the digital world has enabled us to continue to experience culture and creativity even during a global pandemic. Here in the UAE, we have the advanced technology, the networks and connectivity to do so. The arts – music, dance, theatre and poetry – predate modern technology, and right now we need to be looking at how our digital tools can complement this industry by ensuring not only its continuity, but also its growth.
The future is multidisciplinary, so staying ahead of trends and being critical of what you choose to study is important. Youth today need to be open to new ideas while exploring and challenging their own.”
Developing young people’s scientific and creative skills
H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, spotlighted the milestone achieved by the UAE in the nuclear energy field.
“Last year, our country joined the ranks of advanced nations with the capacity and know-how to produce electricity using nuclear energy – a historic achievement for the UAE.
“We are proud to say that the Al Barakah Nuclear Power Plant will provide eco-friendly energy and support economic development for more than 60 years in the future. These stations provide nearly 25% of the UAE’s demand for electricity, 24 hours a day and free of carbon emissions.
From day one of this project, our focus has been on attracting young people, developing their scientific skills in this important sector, creating a set of rewarding job opportunities, and empowering a new generation of leaders in the energy sector across the UAE. So far, more than 500 UAE students have benefitted from the opportunities we have provided.”
Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the economy
Professor Dr Eric Xing, President of the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), addressed the issue of AI and its impact on the economy.
“[It is] not competing with humans in the sectors they are good at, it is merely complementary [in sectors] humans are not very good at. It is going to make the job experience even better.
To create a research university [specialising in] AI is indeed a very visionary and very bold move, which I am very happy to see happening in this country for the first time in human history. It is going to give the country a tremendous upper hand in the global competition of technology and the economy.”