Yemeni youth, please be aware and participate [Archives:2007/1053/Last Page]

May 21 2007

By: Fatima Al-Ajel
[email protected]

Sitting on one side of the hall listening to the participants, she was one of many Yemeni youth who, with hopes for the future, was at the workshop to learn more about their future in leadership. Yet, she wondered, “Are these participants serious about changing the future and are they willing to do their best to improve their positions?”

It was a workshop about Yemeni youth organized Sunday at the Sana'a International Hotel by the Youth State Shoura Council under the banner, “Yemeni youth: where and to where?” Yemeni youth from various parties and organizations attended the workshop with one purpose – to learn about the problems they face and improve their position for a better future.

Workshop papers focused on two points: where are Yemeni youth in leadership and where are the nation's youth headed?

While participants presented several suggestions and serious solutions for youth, many attendees departed early, leaving the hall suddenly empty. Some had lectures at their universities, while others had businesses or work to attend to; the only ones remaining were those who had organized the event and several participants who had come to achieve the workshop's aim.

Such behavior answers the previous question. If Yemeni youths consider their business work and daily life activities as their priority for the future, then why do they request holding such workshops to discuss their problems?

Knowing the importance of their role as true leaders to change the future is the first step in improving their situation and solving their problems. “Yemeni youth face an awareness crisis because they don't realize their importance as future leaders. At the same time, the government plays a role in increasing such youth feelings by also neglecting such future leaders' role,” participant Shihab Al-Ariqi commented.

He added that Yemeni youth must realize that they are the only ones who can mold their nation's civilization, but this won't be achieved unless they activate their role in the leadership process.

Youth problems and needs are many, for which numerous workshops and conferences are held to find serious solutions; however, great solutions and strategies from such workshops and activities are only put on paper without applying them in reality.

Arab youth problems and interests are the same, but most Arab governments aren't serious about youth. Many government authorities plan youth strategies, but they're applied only on paper

This workshop seems like many others which follow traditional methodology in presenting problems and conclude with poor recommendations as to what actually happens at many similar workshops or conferences.

“In Bahrain, we agreed on a specialized youth strategy two years ago, but it still hasn't been applied,” Bahraini journalist Mohammed Al-Swead commented. He pointed out that youth don't want solutions on paper or empty words; rather, they're looking for real interaction and serious and practical solutions for their various situations.

One criticism of the workshop was that most papers only mentioned the absence of Yemeni youth in the leadership process and neglected the workshop's second aim of suggesting solutions to such problems. “The presenters didn't give more attention to solutions, which is more important than listing the problems without thinking of practical solutions,” Al-Ariqi noted.

While most youth activities focus mainly on youth rights, where are those activities educating youth on their duties? “We need such workshops to learn about our duties as future leaders. How can we be future leaders if we're unaware of our duties toward our nation?” one attendee asked.

The Yemeni government also was available at the workshop, attending to hear about youth problems and the different views they hold. In cooperation with several Arab countries and international organizations, the Yemeni government has completed a youth action strategy essentially focusing on youths' basic needs and rights summarized by the youth themselves.

According to Abdullah Al-Khamisi, coordinator of the national strategy for youth and children, the strategy will focus on four main points: youth employment, minimizing the dangers of early marriage, identifying the national youth identity and youth participation in various Yemeni fields

After numerous studies and statistics by both the Yemeni government and several international organizations, the government was able to specify the problems facing Yemeni youth “The tragic problems of Yemeni youth are more than those discussed in the workshop, but the Yemeni government intends to make changes and improve youths' position,” Al-Khamisi noted.

According to studies by the national strategy for youth and children, only 30 percent of Yemeni youth exercise their rights, such as regarding education. Additionally, approximately 50,000 Yemeni women die due to poor health care following childbirth.

The question remains: Will what was discussed at the workshop be taken into account by the Yemeni government and Yemeni youths? This is the question that must be answered, the youth workshop attendees maintained.