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Why the UAE is tailoring its tech strategy around the young

In 2019, at the age of 16, Greta Thunberg became the youngest person ever to be named TIME’s “Person of the Year” for her role in challenging world leaders to take immediate action on climate change. In the hope of inspiring diversity and youth empowerment, last year’s TIME has upped the game and announced its first “Kid of Year”. The first recipient of this recognition was 15-year-old scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao. Although she is not old enough to drive a car, the teenager has already racked up several notable technological achievements. She has developed a tool for early diagnosis of opioid addiction, has invented a device that can measure the lead content in drinking water and has launched an app that uses artificial intelligence to detect cyberbullying.

The stories of both Greta and Gitanjali remind us something that we already knew – that young people wield tremendous influence in today’s society, and that they are not averse to using that influence to shape a world that matches their visions.

This got me thinking about future generations here in our region and the platforms on which they can rise and shine. While younger people in the Middle East may be more concerned about global issues such as the climate crisis, diseases or cyberbullying, they may not have the opportunity to effectively engage with these issues.

When we established the Advanced Technology Research Council in Abu Dhabi, we wanted to create a vibrant ecosystem that would shape research and development for transformative technology outcomes. A cornerstone of this effort is the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), where we welcome world-renowned scientists and researchers, as well as our nation’s youth to foster and advance their interest and passion in scientific research and innovation.

Technology can help our young people play a role in solving the most pressing problems of our age. What’s more, young people believe that the key to a better tomorrow actually lies within technology. According to recent research from Samsung, 90 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds believe that technology is key to achieving a more inclusive, fair and sustainable society. This could not be more accurate.

Technology has disrupted almost every sector responsible for economic development, and for the future-focused sectors that will drive the economy of tomorrow, we need the future-focused minds of the young. I believe strongly that it is our duty to help future generations grow and develop and, most importantly, pursue their passions. Therefore, we must ensure that we create a talent pool of fresh and creative minds to secure a prosperous future for our nation and the world at large. To achieve this priority, we have begun scouting for UAE national talent.

Source: The Nationals News

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