- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27—AMMAN — Young people will have the opportunity to exchange opinions and ideas on pressing issues in artistic ways at the 34th International Arab Youth Congress (IAYC), slated to kick off on August 3.

Investing in the young generation as the drivers of change will be the theme of the congress, organisers said on Monday.

With an eye to addressing issues related to quality education, capacity building, entrepreneurship, early marriage and civic engagement, the event will provide a platform for young people to share their perspectives on these topics through technical workshops and sessions in drama, singing, music, dance and visual arts, according to organisers.

The IAYC, held under the theme “Investing in Young People as Agents of Positive Change for Human Development”, is organised by the National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA) of the King Hussein Foundation, in partnership with UNICEF and with the support of the German Development Bank (KfW) and Japan.

“The theme was adopted against the backdrop of the challenges currently facing children and young people in terms of education, reproductive health, civic participation and security,” said NCCA Director Lina Attel during a press conference to announce the launch of the congress.

She added that young Arabs between the ages of 13 and 17 will take part in the event’s activities, facilitated by experts, and then come up with recommendations to be presented during the IAYC closing ceremony, to be held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor.

Participants from several countries will also present their recommendations to UNICEF, UNFPA and other concerned parties.

“The International Arab Youth Congress provides an opportunity for youth to develop their own creative ways to address and overcome challenges that affect them… the government of Germany is committed to reach and support, in partnership with UNICEF, vulnerable adolescents and youth living across Jordan,” said Nina Lauter, the development counsellor at the Germany embassy in Amman.

For his part, Michele Servadei, UNICEF deputy representative in Jordan, noted that political developments in the region have shown the importance of engaging and investing in young people.

“Civil engagement of youth in Jordan remains very low at 7 per cent…there is a need to institutionalise youth initiatives,” he said, citing the figure on the civil participation of Jordanian young people from a national survey on youth conducted by UNICEF and the University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies.

He said the results of the survey will be published before the end of the year, stressing that UNICEF is concerned with engaging vulnerable children.

“Vulnerable children are not only the refugees, but those subject to violence, sexual abuse and with disabilities,” Servadei said.

Touching on the congress’ achievements, Attel noted that it introduced the 2014 National Initiative “One Step at a Time”, which was designed under Queen Noor’s directives to encourage volunteerism, innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives that offer sustainable benefits to society.

Another milestone, according to Attel, is the launch of the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak International Award, which honours examples of promising Arab youth innovators, thinkers and inventors.

Jordanian Sultan Shawabkeh, a former award winner whose enthusiasm for theatre has made him the ambassador of the award in the Arab world, also spoke at the press conference.

“I’m a resident of Madaba [30km southwest of Amman]. I always share everything I learn about theatre and arts with my colleagues,” the 18-year-old student told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the press conference.

Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, the Netherlands, Serbia, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Libya Are participating in the congress.

The IAYC opening session will be held at the Royal Culture Centre, while the guests of honour will include Marwan Muasher and Y-PEER International Ambassadors Ola Al Faris and Ostaz Sam.

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(c)2015 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan)

Visit the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) at www.jordantimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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