The closing session of the World Youth Forum (WYF) which ran at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh from 4 – 10 November, began with the song“I dream of a world” performed by young singers from several countries.
The forum was attended by more than 3,200 young men and women from all over the world, as well as public figures and officials. It discussed various topics including terrorism, illegal immigration, sustainable development, technology and entrepreneurship, women issues, and refugees. Egypt’s National Council for Women made a presentation of the country’s experience in hosting refugees, in which it stressed that refugees in Egypt, especially women, are given expatriate not refugee status, and are provided support to lead fruitful lives.
Declaration for peace and development
President Sisi, who had actively participated in all the activities of the forum, gave the closing address and announced the decisions of the WYF as part of the “Sharm al-Sheikh Declaration for Peace and Development”. These included holding the forum every year in November, adopting decisions of a simulation of the UN Security Council carried out during the forum, forming a cultural and civilisation integration centre to boost ties between world youth, and creating an African youth centre.
The decisions also included forming an international commission to draw up a strategy to combat illegal immigration, terrorism and illiteracy, and creating a regional centre tasked with supporting entrepreneurship and financing micro and small-sized enterprises. Recommendations by youth participants in a days-long simulation of the United Nations General Assembly, which took place as part of the forum, would be presented to the international body in New York. Participants in the Security Council simulation had discussed three main threats to international peace and security: terrorism, cybercrime, and illegal migration.
“Our dream, the youth of Egypt and myself, is that this forum becomes an effective means of discussion, through which concrete and realistic results are achieved,” the President said.
He confirmed that the WYF had been held in response to a request by the fourth National Youth Conference held last July in Alexandria. National youth conferences are held regularly and their decisions implemented; the first which was held in October 2016 in Sharm al-Sheikh had requested that detainees held in non-national security crimes should be released, and this was promptly done by President Sisi.
The President said he was proud of the WYF gathering international, describing it as an icon of enthusiastic dialogue and interaction, and stressing that various cultures and civilisations should integrate not clash with one another.
Proud to be part of serious event
A number of youth participants delivered speeches, in which they thanked all the interlocutors, especially President Sisi for his support to help render the WYF such a resounding success.
Others talked of their experience at the forum in televised clips that were aired during the closing session. These included Nasser Hassan from Niger, who praised the forum for confirming that young people mattered and that action will come out of all the discussions; Katia from Russia who said that Egypt was a place tourists will flock to; and a young Frenchman who said he had found security, dialogue and peace in Egypt.
In her speech, Mexican national Kolm Mama expressed thanks to Egypt, saying: “I swear I fell in love with Egypt,” and stressing that the forum was very serious event, while another young participant insisted the forum would make a difference in the world.
Renowned Algerian singer Cheb Khaled performed the official song of the forum.
President Sisi: Hats off to women
On his official Facebook account, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi posted a message that summarised what he said during the session titled “Role of women in decision making circles” at the WYF.
On the role of women, the President said political will alone was not enough to empower women; societal culture must change to fully respect and appreciate the role of women in life and the endless potential they possess.
President Sisi insisted that the leading positions women have earned were not due to any favour from men, but owe to women’s tireless efforts and capabilities.
Societal culture in Egypt and the Arab World undervalues the importance of woman. This, the President said, must change through endeavours by cultural and religious platforms.
Women have played a great role in changing communities and pushing them forward, President Sisi said. Egyptian women played a conscious role in confronting terrorism and fundamentalism during the 30 June 2013 Revolution, and women the world over have constantly struggled against the vicious terrorism that seeks to destroy nations.
The Egyptian State, he said, will seek to develop programmes to support women’s access to decision making positions.
“We must work to restore the real image of the Egyptian woman, and make sure she gets what she truly deserves,” he said. “We should all bow before the sacrifices so willingly made by Egyptian women.
10 November 2017