Conquering self doubt was key to achievement for Emirati Mubadala winner
ABU DHABI // When Saeed Al Nazari was at school, he was so shy he would call in sick on the days he had to go on stage to be recognised for academic achievements.
“I was the most shy person in the world. Even if I knew the answer, I wouldn’t answer it. That’s how shy I was,” said Mr Al Nazari, 23. Then a mentor offered him some sage advice.
“He told me, if you are just sitting in the audience, great opportunities will never come. You will always be the one clapping for those who achieve, you will never be on that stage.”
From that moment, the young Emirati did everything he could to develop leadership skills, such as enrolling in exclusive programmes, including the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholars Programme.
On Wednesday, Mr Al Nazari stood tall in front of more than 500 of his peers at the fifth annual Mubadala Youth Forum to accept the Mubadala Youth Award for his achievements in promoting leadership, innovation and happiness through his work.
According to Mubadala, the award recognises Emiratis between the ages of 7 and 25 “for their inspirations, achievements and positive impact on the community”.
Since graduating from school, Mr Al Nazari has founded Qada, which he says is the “first Middle East club for leadership”. The members meet monthly to network, exchange ideas and share experiences.
“It’s peer leadership building between the members,” Mr Al Nazari said. “We want the youth to create their own opportunities. That’s what we always say.
“Many youth unfortunately are waiting either to get their next job or to get the next promotion or sometimes to get recognition. Don’t wait. You just need to take steps.”
Mr Al Nazari was also recognised by Mubadala for his roles as the Global Innovation Management Institute’s first global ambassador of Arab origin and the president of the local chapter of the Global Happiness Organisation.
Three other young Emiratis were also named winners of the Mubadala Youth Award. Among them was university student and mother of two Aisha Al Braiki, who volunteered as an ambassador for the Qasr Al Hosn festival, ambassador at Louvre Abu Dhabi, and adviser in the youth empowerment strategy, among other volunteer roles.
“As youth, we have power and we must put our power in something that benefits our society,” Ms Al Braiki said.
“The UAE needs all our power. In our community, we must know that volunteering is the most important thing to build the community. This is our role as youths, to give our country something of our energy. I want to encourage all the youth to just start and volunteer. You will feel better about yourself that you have done something benefiting yourself and your society.”
Emirati inventors Adeeb Al Blooshi, 11, and his sister Dana, 9, were the youngest nominees to win the award.
“I so far have seven inventions,” said Adeeb, who studies at Gems Wellington International School in Dubai.
His inventions, which range from a fireman’s helmet to a cleaning robot, have yet to go into production. “I just want to help people all around the world,” he said.
Under the theme From College to Career, the youth forum offered a chance to meet business leaders and gain insights into how to break into the job market.
“We’ve had a diverse group of speakers that have been able to share their experiences, but not only that, they’ve been able to give the youth their perspective on the job market,” said Nadine Hassan, Mubadala’s head of integrated marketing and outreach. “It was really focused on what they can do as fresh graduates looking to start their careers on the right foot.”