First student-initiated conference for Qatar aims to empower participants to positively impact communities
Giving youth the opportunity to learn from the country’s brightest change-makers, the Qatar Youth Power (QYP) Conference took place virtually from June 10-11, in partnership with Maker Majlis - a platform under the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU). The country’s first and only student-initiated conference aimed to develop, connect, and empower the youth of Qatar to positively impact their communities.
QYP 2021 took participants on a journey of personal growth that aimed to unlock their potential by developing participants as individuals, connecting this to the local and wider community, and lastly, empowering them to take this capability globally. Reflecting the theme in her opening keynote, Empowering Yourself is Empowering Others, Fatima El Mahdi, Head of THIMUN Qatar, contended that youth empowerment is leadership and being able to empower others.
Among the invited speakers were HBKU’s Dr. Evren Tok, Assistant Dean of Innovation and Community Engagement, Associate Professor of Islam and Global Affairs, and founder of Maker Majlis. Inspiring Qatari role models, youth entrepreneurs, speakers from the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Save the Dream, and figures such as Mr. Khalifa Al Haroon, founder and CEO of ILoveQatar.net, and stand-up comedian Mr. Hamad Al Mari, led impactful sessions that gave the youth the education and tools necessary to make a change.
With a focus on self-awareness and self-development, eight thematic workshops included Sport Values, Youth and Global Citizenship Youth; Climate Activism in the Arab World; and Journey of an Entrepreneur. Bayan Khaled, a research fellow at CIS, featured as a speaker at a panel discussion on faith and youth on social media, with Iman Ismail, a senior at Georgetown University in Qatar.
Unique conference sessions included the “Fireside Chat”, which discussed empowering women in the region and increasing their participation in the public sphere, as well as the challenges facing youth striving to create social change. The conference closed with a keynote on Youth Empowerment and Education for Future Change Makers.
Speaking after the conference, Dr. Tok said: “Rather than an individual endeavor, leading change that transforms our societies is linked to empowering others first, and this understanding was at the heart of the first Qatar Youth Power Conference. We set out to help participating youth gain a better understanding of how they can use their potential for the betterment of their communities, and, in keeping with our focus at CIS and Maker Majlis, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We thank our event partners for sharing in our message and enabling this successful effort to empower our youth.”
QYP 2021 partners included ILoveQatar.net; Qatar Medical Students Association (QMSA); Students Qatar; Greener Future; Talabat, and Doha Environmental Actions Project (DEAP Qatar).
For more information on the work of the College of Islamic Studies and Maker Majlis, please visit: https://www.hbku.edu.qa/en/cis/maker-majlis