AIESEC YouthSpeak Forum on SDGs Highlights Bahraini Youth’s Commitment to Global Goals

Oct 23, 2016

A group photo taken at the AIESEC YouthSpeak Forum on SDGs.

Manama, Bahrain Climate Change, Quality Education and Gender Quality were highlighted as the three Sustainable Development Goals most relevant to youth in Bahrain at the YouthsSpeak Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) organized by AIESEC’s Bahrain Chapter and in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Bahrain Development Bank (BDB). The two-day-long forum, held at the Applied Science University on the 21st and 22nd of October, featured distinguished speakers who later delivered workshops on three goals selected by Bahraini youth as most relevant to them.

The forum aimed to raise awareness on the SDGs, as well as provide practical solutions to challenges faced by Bahrain in the three different focus areas. In his opening speech, His Excellency Dr. Sh. Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the power of youth today to make a change. He applauded Bahraini youth and emphasized the need to support the next generation.

His Excellency Mr. Amin El Sharkawi, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, delivered the keynote speech, applauding Bahrain’s efforts towards achieving the SDGs, and placing emphasis on the youth’s integral role in creating sustainable solutions to our development challenges: “Young people are brave, they are passionate. It is imperative for us not to lose this opportunity to bring youth to the forefront of development. It is Bahraini youth that are here today showing their commitment and interest”.

Local speakers delivered sessions on the realities of each goal in Bahrain, followed by workshops that sought real-world solutions to the various challenges. Among them were Ms. Suad Al Halwachi, CEO of Education Zone and Yaqoob Alnajem, Founder and Head of the “Keys” programme under YouthCity 2030, who led the discussion on “Quality Education”, which is Goal 4 under the SDG Agenda 2030. Additionally, Amal Al Saffar, the first Bahraini woman to go to Antarctica and Anfal Fekri, Project Coordinator for the Climate Faith Bahrain initiative under the Arab Youth Climate Movement discussed the complexities of climate change during the “Climate Action” segment. Finally, Yasmeen Fraidoon spoke about the obstacles she faced as the first Bahraini female pilot.


BDB delivered a series of workshops on second day of the conference, aiding delegates in developing their own social enterprise plans. During the closing ceremony, three projects were selected, with the grand winners awarded for their project on health and sustainability, "The Miracle Tree". 

In the spirit of UN Day, which is celebrated on the 24th of October every year, and in a bid to encourage youth, UNDP Bahrain sponsored over 100 students to attend the forum. This year’s UN Day is under the theme “71-17: 71 Years for 17 Goals”. 

The Forum was attended by HE Dr. Sh. Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Undersecretary International Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HE Mr. Amin El Sharkawi, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Eman Janahi, Assistant Undersecretary for Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, and Professor Ghassan Aouad, President, Applied Science University.

AIESEC's YouthSpeak Forum is an event powered by AIESEC that gathers young people and senior leaders in an engaging environment, where they come up with actions and solutions on issues relevant to Bahrain.

The UNDP is the UN global development network, working in 177 countries and territories. In the Kingdom of Bahrain, UNDP provides technical support and assistance to national institutions and civil society towards achieving national priorities and addressing local challenges. UNDP assistance includes the building of systems and capacities within the public sector and the parliament, support of social strategies, the promotion of women's advancement, energy sufficiency and environmental sustainability. UNDP is continuing its work to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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