Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off series of events to inspire youth

Tamara Walid
Tamara Walid

Dubai event brings together some of the brightest young minds from across the UAE to the first in a series of events aimed at inspiring and engaging youth

This week at YouthConnect, Expo 2020 Dubai held the first in a series of events geared towards engaging and inspiring youth aged between 16 and 25. The events are designed as interactive forums, including speeches, hands-on workshops and discussions delivered by successful business professionals, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

The event featured workshops by the likes of Google’s tech entrepreneurship hub AstroLabs, a calligraffiti workshop by popular artist eL Seed, and a session on robotics by NYU Abu Dhabi. The workshops and the discussion sessions aimed to strengthen partnership and collaboration, network-building, science in action, creative design, skills development, career coaching and cultural exchange. The initiative is part of Dubai’s Expo theme of innovation, and the emirate’s goal of establishing a knowledge-based economy.

'I came here to inspire people. There are many problems in the world and you can be part of the solution'

Adeeb Al Blooshi, 11-year-old Emirati inventor

Running concurrently to the workshops was ‘Let’s Talk’, an informal space where speakers shared their personal stories and tips on boosting employability and achieving success. Youth were able to have a conversation with young Emirati inventor Adeeb Al Blooshi; Mohammed Saeed Harib, founder of renowned animated TV series Freej; Zayan Ghandour, co-founder of s*uce fashion boutique; footballer and humanitarian Frederic Kanoute; Amal Al Marri and Deem Albassam, the co-founders of SALT food truck, as well as senior representatives from Facebook; and LinkedIn.

“I came here to inspire people,” said 11-year-old Adeeb Al Blooshi, who has seven inventions, including a tiny robot he devised to help his mother in cleaning hard-to-reach places at home and a heart-monitor that can be embedded in a car’s seat belt system and wirelessly beam health alerts to first responders. “There are many problems in the world and you can be part of the solution,” he told the youth in attendance.

football inspiration youth dubai expo
Ex footballer Frederic Kanoute talked about his journey to success and how determination paid off

Jon Duschinsky, Co-Founder and CEO of The Conversation Farm and one of the contributors to the idea of the Ice Bucket Challenge, assists companies, governments and non-profits in building communities and creating viral movements.

“Business today is personal. It’s about people. And today, with the tools that we have, the communication tools, the opportunity to connect with people, we are looking for meaning, for purpose. We are not looking for a function anymore,” he told the audience.

On bringing about social change, he said: “At the heart of every great business, every great movement for social change, at the heart of anything, is one person and one story, and we all have in us our story, our truth. If we have the courage to tell that, we can be someone that others can follow. If we speak from the heart, we can connect hearts and minds, and people can gather and build communities. Out of communities exceptional things happen. That’s where change happens.”

Also in attendance was ex-footballer and humanitarian Frederic Kanoute, who set up his own charity, and is now based in Dubai where he runs a football academy. Through his participation, Kanoute wanted “to try humbly to inspire people and tell them that whatever field you are working in you just have to have determination, [and] self-belief,” he said.

He talked to the youth about his football career and the challenges he faced to become successful. “I just wanted to talk about what you don’t see, the journey it takes to get there. It’s not always easy, but the journey is often more beautiful than the destination itself.”