Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Portrait of a Nation: the voice of Emirati youth helping to bridge the generation gap

Aisha Al Mazmi is using her radio show to support the nation's young people

Aisha Al Mazmi speaks on behalf of the nation's youth on her radio show on Sharjah's Pulse 95 Radio. Reem Mohammed / The National
Aisha Al Mazmi speaks on behalf of the nation's youth on her radio show on Sharjah's Pulse 95 Radio. Reem Mohammed / The National

A young Emirati broadcaster is helping to bridge the generation gap by using her radio show to inspire listeners to pursue their dreams.

Aisha Al Mazmi, 25, encourages parents to get in tune with the lives of their children as the co-host of Afternoon Karak, on Pulse 95 Radio in Sharjah.

Her own prodigious rise to success in broadcasting is testament to how the steadfast support of a parent can shape the path of young people aiming to find their place in the world.

Ms Al Mazmi considered many career options before the guiding hand of her father pointed her in the right direction.

“My parents were always supportive of my ever-changing dreams, from once wanting to become a vet, then a teacher then a vet again, to when I changed my university major three times,” she said.

“They weren’t judgmental or angry, even though the majority of my generation had parents who dictated what their kids should study.”

It was her father who told her to apply for a role at Pulse 95 Radio and in university she was encouraged by her professor to change her major to journalism.

Now Ms Al Mazmi, the youngest Emirati to have her own radio show on an English-language station, is hoping to encourage families across the Emirates to learn from her story.

While the world the younger generation are growing up in, with its advances in technology and growth of social media, may seem alien to many parents, they must persist to help their children, she said.

“It's not the kids' fault that they grew up in a time when they had access to all this technology, and the next generation will have something even bigger, so they should accept this fact,” Ms Al Mazmi said.

“Complaining about something your kids enjoy, like iPads, instead of observing, being closer, and teaching your kids responsibility towards this device and its use, creates boundaries between the two.”

The broadcaster feels parents must become more tech-literate to avoid being left out of the conversation.

“Ask a parent what is Twitch? They wouldn’t know,” she said.

“Not knowing how to navigate your way through the virtual world to keep up with your kids' interests is not their fault, and instead of asking them to come to your level, you go to theirs.”

My parents were always supportive of my ever-changing dreams

Aisha Al Mazmi

Through her show, Ms Al Mazmi not only tries to help change the overall image of younger generations, mainly in the eyes of parents and older people, but also attempts to lift her demographic up.

“We try to discuss matters relevant to us, like popular culture, current affairs and our interests, among ourselves,” she said.

She believes young people need support and guidance on their journey through life, especially when the intended destination changes.

"If you had told me two years ago I would have my own show, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said.

Her own adventure is far from complete, as she still has aspirations to write a book.

One thing that already binds the generations together in the UAE is a reverence for the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the country's Founding Father.

She is emboldened by his faith in young people and hopes she and many others of her generation can make the nation proud.

Updated: December 26, 2019 04:46 PM

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