x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Words of wisdom from Qatar

Sheikha Mozah has some timeless lessons to provide.

The front page news article Mozah warns of cycle of unemployment (February 25) reported that the wife of the emir of Qatar in a UN report criticised Arab governments for failing to provide sufficient education and work for the region's youth. The wisdom of Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned is not only clearly apparent but reflects the views of some of the world's greatest thinkers. In her contention that the seduction of consumerism locks young people in an endless quest for possessions and distracts them from reaching their full potential, she is reflecting the opinions of the great philosopher Aristotle who, in ancient Greece, proposed exactly the same.

It is pursuing one's abilities to the full, not material objects, that gives life its meaning. Like Aristotle, Sheikha Mozah is reminding young people that one of their greatest challenges should be to become the best of citizens capable of contributing to the development and betterment of society, an ambition that is not assisted where one's interests lie primarily in the latest model of car or handbag.

Similarly, she is correct when she suggests that the region's education system should be teaching creative thinking, writing skills and flexibility rather than just providing diplomas. As the noted futurist and international corporate consultant, Edward de Bono, has stated, it is the task of educationalists to teach young people how to think creatively and to solve problems (many that we don't yet know of) as well as to equip them with the practical skills that the world needs both now and in the future.

In 10 years time with 65 per cent of the region's population under the age of 25, Sheikha Mozah has alerted regional governments to the dangers of an impending situation which we cannot ignore.

Richard McLauchlan, Dubai