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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 May 2018

World Government Summit: UAE pledges $500m a year towards university scholarships for young Arabs

The Minister of State for Youth said young people have every right to 'dream to be astronauts, leaders, sport champions, win the Oscars and Nobel prizes'

The Arab Youth Strategy session at the World Government Summit 2018 held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

NOTE: Minister of State for Youth Shamma Al Mazrouei (center)
The Arab Youth Strategy session at the World Government Summit 2018 held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National NOTE: Minister of State for Youth Shamma Al Mazrouei (center)

Half-a-billion US dollars will be provided every year by the UAE to support Arab youth in studies at universities in the UAE and abroad, the Minister of State for Youth announced on Tuesday.

Speaking at the World Government Summit, Shamma Al Mazrui said the Young Arab Pioneers initiative, launched by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, will be the largest of its kind and that it will source, uncover and foster young Arab pioneers.

“It will have a high impact on Arab youth,” she said. “You can imagine what hundreds of thousands of [young people] can achieve in a short period of time. I am one of the lucky ones who received a scholarship thanks to the efforts of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed – I got a masters from New York University in the US, which is one of the most prominent universities in the world.”

Ms Al Mazroui said the Arab world is strategically located and the UAE has the potential to become among the best nations in the world.

“We’re here to show the world the power of Arab youth initiatives,” Ms Al Mazroui said. “Arab [young people] have every right today to dream to be astronauts, leaders, sport champions, and our young Arabs could win the Oscars and create innovations that are deserving of Nobel prizes.”

Anas Ashraf from Sudan, a young Arab pioneer, developed one of the most popular platforms for book sharing. “It’s important to invest in youth. We were enabled to create a system and a paradigm that will push us forward,” he said.

Omar Al Garnas, a Saudi Arabian architecture graduate, worked as a project manager in his home country. Outside his work, he volunteers across Saudi and helped develop a plot of land to build an Arab Youth Centre. He said: "It is designed entirely by [young people] and it is the most opportune platform to work, study and achieve things together – I never dreamt of such an opportunity and now I’m thinking of creating thousands of opportunities for youth.”

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Read more from World Government Summit:

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'Innovative or be eliminated': UAE's smaller health clinics will struggle to survive

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Ahmad Yousry from Alexandria, Egypt, worked in special effects in cinemas, including films such as The Fast and The Furious, Mission Impossible, Interstellar and Hugo, two of which received an Oscar for best special effects. “My message to [young people] is that they should continue to create opportunities for themselves in all areas,” he said. “We can be leaders and we are hoping to see our [young people] on international platforms celebrating success.”

Rashid Amrouse, from Morocco, joined the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency after graduating in biochemistry and space applications. “I was the first foreigner to take part in a leading project there,” he said. “We managed to develop an eco-friendly fuel that will be [important] in fixing and installing smaller satellites dispatched by Japan. We hope to see space agencies in the Arab world that can compete with international space agencies from Japan to the US.”