x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Students brainstorm regional issues in Dubai

Hundreds of students have spent a brainstorming weekend in Dubai discussing the region’s crucial economic, social and security issues.

DUBAI // Hundreds of students have spent a brainstorming weekend in Dubai discussing the region’s crucial economic, social and security issues.

The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations brings together 600 students from top universities with leaders in diplom acy, governance, business, culture and academia.

Seminars and workshops were held at a Dubai hotel on Friday, and the rest of the programme took place at the American University in Dubai.

“It is my great honour to represent Pakistan in the event,” said Salahuddin Khan, 24, a marketing management student at the Karachi School for Business and Management, and one of 10 students from Pakistan making their first visit to the UAE.

“Being on the security and diplomacy panel, I hope to contribute positively to the discussions taking place during the sessions and perhaps help change perspectives.”

Maryam Gul, Mehick Ahmed and Alizeh Nasir Hameed, economics students at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Rawalpindi, are also taking part.

“I will be able to give a different angle on most issues facing my country and the world in general,” said Ms Gul, 21.

Mr Ahmed, 22, said that he hoped that by attending the conference he could do his bit to improve Pakistan’s standing in the world.

“I also hope to brainstorm new ideas to cope with pressing issues such as global warming,” he added.

Mr Hameed, 21, believes a good way to look to the future is by learning from the past and how different countries have handled issues.

“As a Pakistani student, I will be representing my country in a positive light, highlighting its culture and traditions to show that it is much more than the aspect shown on news channels,” he said.

“Students from Pakistan possess the power to change the stereotyped image of Pakistan through the sheer beauty of the power of speech and negotiation,” said Abdul Sattar Ansari, 23, a supply-chain management student at Iqra University in Islamabad. “It gives us an opportunity to be ambassadors of Pakistan, to view situations from a multitude of perspectives.”

“Youth promoting their country through cultural diplomacy is the best way to enhance people-to-people relations,” said Mobisher Rabbani, a UAE diplomatic consultant and philanthropist, who was speaking at the conference about defence and diplomacy.

“Dubai is an ideal place to have such a conference and interactions.”

Mr Rabbani has been acting as the group’s mentor while they were in Dubai.

The project has taken place annually since 1991. This year’s event began on Thursday and concludes tomorrow.

nhanif@thenational.ae