x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Emirati students prepare to represent the nation

The 42 Youth Ambassadors have been split into two groups to travel to South Korea and China for the next three weeks, where they will meet some of the Far East's influential figures.

Chosen from Abu Dhabi universities, the Youth Ambassadors are expected to forge cultural, diplomatic and industry ties with China and South Korea, and improve their own international knowledge and language skills. Christopher Pike / The National
Chosen from Abu Dhabi universities, the Youth Ambassadors are expected to forge cultural, diplomatic and industry ties with China and South Korea, and improve their own international knowledge and language skills. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // The young diplomats and business leaders of the future are ready to represent their nation on an international stage.

The 42 Youth Ambassadors have been split into two groups to travel to South Korea and China for the next three weeks, where they will meet some of the Far East's influential figures.

Eighteen will jet off for China tomorrow, and the other 24 will travel to South Korea the following day. There are 25 women and 17 men, with an average age of 21.

The aim of the scheme set up by the Crown Prince's Court in Abu Dhabi is to "equip, develop and prepare young Emiratis to take on prominent roles in core sectors, lead key partnerships and strengthen engagement between the UAE and China and South Korea".

Chosen from universities across the UAE, the ambassadors are expected to forge cultural, diplomatic and industry ties with the two nations, and improve their own international knowledge and language skills.

"I was very interested by the language and culture of the South Korean people, they seem to be very nice, and very disciplined," said Hamed Isa, who studies Korean at university.

"It is very honourable to be representing your country and to be chosen on behalf of others. It is a huge honour, but there are also huge responsibilities and I must be devoted and committed."

Mr Isa hopes the language barrier can be broken down, improving the relationship further.

Each applicant had to pass a rigorous process involving essay writing and interviews, to ensure they were the right candidates to represent the country around the world.

They had to be UAE nationals enrolled in a full-time undergraduate degree course and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Each ambassador began language training in February.

Mohammed Al Muhairi, who studied at Khalifa University, said: "I feel this will give me an experience I could not get anywhere else, it is a huge opportunity that I didn't want to miss.

"This is very important because we can compare our culture to theirs and benefit from it. We can see how their governments work and their good sides, and we can implement those in our country. It is good for both countries."

The groups will begin their trips with further language training, a government study tour, an industry tour and a cultural overview of their destinations.

Highlights for the team travelling to China include becoming acquainted with local customs in Beijing, exploring the Great Wall and site visits to Microsoft Asia's research centre and Huawei Technologies.

The South Korean team will also be given a taste of traditional culture, a tour of Samsung Electronics and a visit to Gangnam municipal government.

"It is an excellent project. I think it is very helpful to get the people of the two countries to know each other and to improve the relationship between them," said Wang Yongzhao from the Chinese embassy.

"For young people especially, this is important. The exchange of the Arabic and Chinese culture is excellent. The two countries have built a strategic cooperation and I think it is very very important for these ambassadors to visit and to make new friends in China."

The deputy director of the Asian Affairs Department, Mohamed Al Mairi, stressed to the ambassadors the importance of the relationship between the UAE and the region as a whole, and said a prosperous future will exist between the nations.

The trips will be followed by the Abu Dhabi film and production studio Image Nation, and a documentary charting the ambassadors' progress is planned for television release this year.

ksinclair@thenational.ae

 

* The article has been amended since it was first published to reflect that the Youth Ambassadors were chosen from universities across the UAE instead of as originally stated.