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Shamma Al Mazrouei

Arab Youth Centre launches first Arab Youth Hackathon

ABU DHABI, May 14, 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the aspirations of Arab youth to play a greater role in the development of solutions for the future, the Arab Youth Centre has launched the Arab Youth Hackathon. 
 
The challenge aims to enhance the contribution of young people in finding solutions to the most pressing issues impacting the world in the present exceptional circumstances.
 
The inaugural edition of the Arab Youth Hackathon is being held over a three-week duration from May 12 to May 31 under the theme ‘Youth’s role in times of Crises’. 
 
Organised in partnership with a group of Arab and international institutions that work with youth, the hackathon aims to stimulate the contributions of Arab youth in various categories and areas of specialisation to share their ideas and provide innovative solutions and proposals. 
 
In doing so, the young people are required to leverage technological solutions to help Arab societies overcome the challenges they face in the prevailing global landscape. The top three winners will receive financial awards to support the transformation of their ideas into successful projects on ground.
 
The Crown Prince Foundation of Jordan, the hackathon’s regional strategic partner, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Egypt, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Bahrain, and the Youth Public Authority in Kuwait, are participating in the largest of its kind Arab initiative being implemented in cooperation with Accenture, Arab Youth Hackathon’s innovation partner.
 
The Arab Youth Hackathon is inviting the participation of tech-savvy young people up to the age of 35, in six challenges spanning six vital domains that are relevant to the future of youth and Arab societies. 
 
The categories include education, economics, food security, social responsibility, healthcare, and employment. Interested participants can fill out the submission form and send in three-minute video entries in Arabic, introducing themselves and their projects online via the Arab Youth Center website. All entries must include a clear, sustainable and actionable technical idea and plan of implementation.
 
The evaluation of Arab youth participants will be carried out according to stringent criteria, foremost among which is innovation and creativity of the ideas and the ability to implement them on a large scale, as well as their effectiveness and sustainability when the world emerges from the ongoing health crisis. 
 
An expert jury panel, comprising members and representatives of the institutions organising the initiative, will evaluate the participants after closing entry submissions. In the first week of June, the jurors will assess the project entries according to five basic criteria - originality, innovation, application, sustainability, and relevance to the challenge.
 
The announcement of the winners will take place at a live event in the second week of June, with the three best ideas from across the six challenges being declared the winners. Arab Youth Center officials and other organisers will join the ceremony to award prizes to the three winners.
 
Shamma Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Vice President of the Arab Youth Centre, said: “With the rise of distance learning and remote work options, and due to the exceptional health conditions the world is currently facing, technologically empowered youth are in prime position to innovation, create and contribute to leading safe exit efforts from the ongoing challenges through leveraging cutting-edge, innovative solutions. In doing so, they can help restore economic stability to our world, and activate future development paths following this global health crisis.”
 
She added: "Technology today is capable of ensuring equal opportunities for Arab youth on par with those available to their counterparts around the world. With their digital screens, they are able to share their inspiring ideas and innovative suggestions via cross-border creative workshops that bring together Arab youth from everywhere.
 
“Young people today have many tools at their disposal, from the research platforms to training and qualification programs available in multiple formats. This challenge is their opportunity to benefit in formulating successful strategies to transform problems into solutions and accelerate development paths for the future.”
 
Ayman Bin Tawfiq Al Moayed, Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs in Bahrain, said that youth have a key role in post-COVID-19 recovery plans to get development back on track with their determination and capabilities.
 
He stressed that activities that bring Arab youth together through technology for the healthy exchange of ideas and opinions and discussion on the best ways to face challenges, are crucial in offering solutions to today’s problems. 
 
He pointed out that Bahraini youth play a key role in driving the implementation of their country’s preventive health measures while volunteering in all fields to combat the global health crisis.
 
Arab Youth up to the age of 35 who wish to participate in the largest Arab digital challenge to promote development can fill out the submission form through the Arab Youth Centre website, and then send a video of no more than 3 minutes in Arabic language including an introduction of the participant and an explanation of their idea, which must be an innovative, clear, sustainable and an actionable within one of the six proposed challenges.
 
For his part, Saeed Al-Nazari, Director General of the Federal Youth Authority, Chief Strategy Officer of the Arab Youth Center and member of the National Committee for the Sustainable Development Goals in the UAE, said: “The Arab Youth Hackathon is the first open platform of its kind for Arab youth to share its views and visions of the solutions required to overcome the challenges we are facing today. The careful selection of the six vital sectors - education, economics, food security, social responsibility, health, and employment – testify to the relevance and strategic impact the hackathon is set to have in finding viable solutions for sustainable development.”
 
Thanking all the Arab and international institutions participating in the challenge, he pointed out that the Arab youth have the ability and the motivation to develop breakthroughs that transcend the current reality through leveraging its technical expertise and applications, many of which are available to all. He confirmed that through efforts such as the hackathon, the Arab Youth Center will continue its mission to empower Arab youth in their home countries.
 
For her part, Dr Tamam Mango, CEO of the Crown Prince’s Foundation in Jordan, said: “The decision of the Crown Prince’s Foundation to support the Arab Youth Hackathon initiative as regional strategic partner is aimed at stimulating the contribution of Jordan’s young people to development efforts to support the countries of the world in combatting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The capabilities and energies of Arab youth qualify them to shape creative ideas and solutions for various problems, based on their belief in those capabilities, as well as their confidence and keenness to contribute positively to the future.”
 
In this context, Abdul Rahman Al-Mutairi, Director General of Kuwait’s Public Authority for Youth (PAY), said: “Kuwaiti youth demonstrate exceptional awareness in dealing with this global challenge and they will continue their efforts to work with their counterparts in the Arab world to provide the best solutions and proposals to reduce the consequences of this global challenge. Within the six tracks identified by Arab Youth Hackathon, PAY will dedicate its efforts to this initiative and to the success of its aspirations to serve Arab societies.”
 
The assessment panel consisting of independent members and representatives of the institutions participating in organising the initiative will supervise the evaluation of youth participations after the closing of the door for participation during the first week of June, according to five basic criteria; namely, originality, innovation, application, sustainability, and relevance to the challenge.
 
“Empowering youth with capabilities to innovate and safeguard their communities has never been more crucial as we work to leverage technology to solve tomorrow’s problems today,” said Davide Capitanio, Innovation Strategy & Ventures Lead for Accenture in the Middle East. “We are very excited to be part of the Arab Youth Hackathon that ensures we are building the youth’s resilience, encouraging their brightest ideas, and nurturing their invaluable critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. We look forward to using our collective expertise to promote and accelerate creative solutions by tomorrow’s leaders in combatting this pandemic.”
 
Winners of the Arab Youth Hackathon will be announced in a live digital event in the second week of June, with the participation of officials from the Arab Youth Centre and the partners supporting the initiative, where the three top winners will be awarded. -- Tradearabia News Service
 
 
 



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