Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), officially inaugurated the eighth edition of the youth-led EMPOWER conference today.

The opening ceremony was also attended by HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce; HE Doctor Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh Al Thani, ROTA Board Member; and Mr Essa Al Mannai, ROTA Executive Director, in addition to a number of other VIPs from Qatar and the region.

Organised by ROTA, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), the three-day conference is taking place at the Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Student Center in Education City.

Under the theme, ‘Innovation in Youth Social Entrepreneurship,’ the conference has brought together more than 450 participants from around the world. In line with QF’s overarching mission, the event aims to unlock human potential by motivating young people to use their innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial talents.

Mr Essa Al Mannai, ROTA Executive Director, commented on the event, said:

We are honoured to host the eight annual EMPOWER conference. Every year it continues to demonstrate its significant contribution to youth empowerment, and to finding solutions to local and international challenges. This year’s conference, held under the theme ‘Innovation in Youth Social Entrepreneurship’, aims to help bolster youth leadership and management skills, enabling participants to manage projects in a sustainable and professional manner, and so adding value to both the economy and society.’

A distinguished group of Arab youth entrepreneurs, who have dedicated considerable time and effort in their roles as ambassadors, also attended the opening ceremony. Amongst them were Essam Heggy, an Arab scientist working at NASA, and Jehangir Malik, CEO of International Inspiration. From Qatar, Abdulrahman Al Romaihi, Aisha Al Naama, Maryam Al-Thani, and Mohammed Fakhro participated in the event, in addition to Firas Al Jarrah, a Saudi Arabian entrepreneur, and Lojain Alobaid, Founder of Tasami Foundation in Saudi Arabia.

Aiming to raise awareness of opportunities and challenges relating to entrepreneurship amongst Qatar’s young population, the conference will feature panel discussions, keynote speeches, exhibitions, and group workshops. Topics such as crowdfunding, innovation in product creation, entrepreneurship, and the power of social networking will be addressed. 

Several trainers and speakers from Qatar will lead sessions, including Maryam Al Subaiey, Hussain Habib Al Sayed, Salah Al Yafey, and Abdallah Al Buainain. Additionally, numerous workshops will be conducted by local entities, such as Qatar Development Bank, Bedaya Center, Qatar Debate, Entrepreneur Middle East, Qatar University, Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF), Qatar Charity, Qatar Scientific Club, Qatar Science and Technology Park, Qatar Computing Research Institute. More than 15 experts from the Regional Office of the United Nations Development Programme will also conduct training sessions.

Ghanim Al Muftah, ROTA Goodwill Ambassador, said:

As my first mission as a ROTA Goodwill Ambassador I visited a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. I met the children and their families, and I was able to see first-hand the difficult living conditions.’

‘I promised my new friends in Lebanon that I would do everything I could to help them to build recreation facilities in their camp where they can play and exercise. I am delighted to announce that the fees paid to participate in EMPOWER 2016 will go toward this campaign. With everyone’s support and help, we can make this dream a reality.’

The conference also serves as a discussion forum, where participants will be able to pitch and review solutions to increase the contribution of youth in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030), using the youth social entrepreneurship business methodology.

Youth social entrepreneurship aims to address skills development, education, and investment in young people; motivating them to utilise their capabilities and to achieve success and independence.  The methodology has gained momentum across the region in recent years due to the emergence of an increasing number of startups and successful projects that are both socially responsible and sustainable on the financial level.

Educating youth, and raising their awareness about social entrepreneurship, is an essential element of ROTA’s strategies to bolster youth employment in Qatar and the region. 

This year, the Youth Planning Committee includes 72 members, and takes the responsibilities of planning, execution, and coordinating some of the vital elements in the conference such as planning meetings, time management and resources management, to ensure that the resources are managed effectively and on time.

ROTA has partnered with Qatar Charity, the Qatar Financial Centre, and the Qatar National Convention Centre to sponsor EMPOWER 2016.

For more information about Reach Out To Asia visit reachouttoasia.org.

Related post: Empower 2016 Youth Conference by ROTA

Empower 2016 ROTA Conference Doha Qatar