Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah spoke of his ‘absolute belief in the ability of youth to face challenges through research, development, and innovation’ during the second edition of the Education City Speaker Series Bel Arabi, held in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence.

HE Dr Al Attiyah led the discussion, Heart of Our Future: Empowering Youth Today, Protecting Our Tomorrow, which was held in the build-up to Qatar National Day. He said that they consider the alumni of Qatar Foundation, Qatar University and other prestigious universities in Qatar, to be the true wealth of the country.

The hybrid event – with the actual discussion held at Qatar National Library and live-streamed on all social media channels of Qatar Foundation – explored how Qatar’s youth can be involved in decision making, and how their leadership skills and resilience can be enhanced so that they are equipped and motivated to confront challenges and drive positive change through innovation.

National sustainability challenges

Facing national sustainability challenges requires the country to continue investing in the minds of the youth, believing in their potential, and empowering them to use the tools they possess – such as science and knowledge – to develop solutions that achieve sustainability, not only in the context of the environment but also in other sectors.

This is how, together, we can build a sustainable economy based on diversification. And it requires our youth to build on four key pillars: belief in the idea, enthusiasm, work, and positivity.

Building a sustainable future for Qatar requires empowering youth to hold responsibility, according to HE Dr Al Attiyah.

Our fathers and grandfathers lived with many challenges, the most important of which were work and food, and they were able to overcome these.

Through energy and efforts in building a diversified economy, he said they were able to move forward. Today, young people are required to carry this responsibility by developing solutions that enable the country to overcome water and food security challenges and engage in the field of clean energy.

He also mentioned that the Ministry of Defense research centres are working closely with other research centres at Qatar Foundation to confront challenges such as those related to global warming and desertification, and hopefully, to ultimately reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Qatar to zero.

Shura Council, volunteering and strengthening Qatari society

Speaking on Qatar’s recent Shura Council elections, HE Dr Al Attiyah said that there is no doubt these elections were the biggest event in Qatar in 2021 because they played a vital role in engaging the youth in politics – providing them with political knowledge and enhancing their responsibilities, whether as a candidate or through their connections with those nominated.

ECSS - HE Dr Khalid Al Attiyah 1

On the role of youth in the volunteering sector, he said that volunteering is part of the country’s culture and runs in the blood of every Qatari. Qatari youth have a passion for charitable work and for helping others. And the methods of volunteering have been developed – they are not now simply limited to traditional volunteering, which has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there is another pandemic: emigration, which, around the world, is seeing youth leave their countries. Nations need to prevent this brain drain so that the knowledge of youth can be harnessed through their volunteering in new fields such as technology and research, development, and innovation.

HE Dr Al Attiyah also emphasised the role of the family at the centre of Qatari society. He said that they hope that the youth will commit to the values of building families because families are the heart of the community. Building families is the core of protecting heritage and national identity.

Education City Speaker Series Bel Arabi

The event also saw a discussion moderated by Al Jazeera presenter Fairouz Ziani, followed by a question-and-answer session with the in-person and online audience.

Education City Speaker Series Bel Arabi reflects the role of Qatar Foundation as the custodian of the Arabic language, culture, heritage, and knowledge. It was launched in 2020 as part of the evolution of the Education City Speaker Series dialogue platform.

The Education City Speaker Series already hosted experts and thought-leaders from Qatar, the region, and around the world to discuss pivotal topics such as COVID-19, the future of education, youth and identity, entrepreneurship, and the Palestinian resistance to occupation. Having shifted to a virtual platform following the onset of COVID-19, the Education City Speaker Series have attracted thousands of viewers from around the world.

For more information about the Education City Speaker Series, visit

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