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Eye of Dubai
Business & Money | Tuesday 28 November, 2023 8:42 am |

Misk Global Forum 2023 paves the way for youth-led global impact

The Misk Global Forum (#MGF23), the region’s largest youth forum, concluded its seventh edition, convening 40,000 attendees from 59 countries. The hybrid event featured a global line-up of more than 120 speakers, leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs across more than 150 insightful sessions and hosted more than 50 online and in-person workshops.


Held over three days from November 15-17 at Bujairi Terrace in historic Diriyah, overlooking UNESCO World Heritage Site At-Turaif, #MGF23, under the theme ‘The Big Now’, offered a dynamic platform for young minds and global trailblazers to think ambitiously, act decisively, and channel their energies into global problem-solving. 


Fourteen interactive activations


Attendees at the Misk Global Forum experienced an enriching blend of more than 14 unique activations, delivering 434 hours of learning with 80 workshops to more than 1,000 attendees centred around ‘The Big Now’. The Stage set the platform for global speakers to outline the challenges and solutions facing youth in today’s interconnected world. The Leaders Diwan provided a hub for in-depth dialogues with senior leaders and decision-makers. The Majlis hosted a relaxed setting that facilitated discussions between today’s brightest minds and innovators. The Skills Dukkan held collaborative workshops run by world-class partners, including National Geographic, Metaverse Academy, LinkedIn, Apple Academy, and Adidas, enabling participants to learn new skills. For a moment of rejuvenation, the Wellness Waha provided a range of meditative and therapeutic activities that focused on physical and mental well-being. Meanwhile, The Tank welcomed aspiring entrepreneurs to a space to engage and develop entrepreneurial mindsets. Finally, The Classroom showcased what the learning environment of the future could and should look like, leveraging the latest technologies to enhance the educational experience. 


A stage for global leaders to inspire youth


The forum hosted a star-studded array of global speakers, including the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner and former Real Madrid football player Karim Benzema, who commended the growing prominence of football in Saudi Arabia. From the world of business, Robert Herjavec, CEO of Cyderes and Herjavec Ventures and Executive Producer at Shark Tank, emphasized the importance of thinking big to capture transformative investments, noting that “Opportunities flow to great ideas, not regions. That old bias is disappearing. People are more invested in the power of ideas.”


Also taking the stage at #MGF23, Chris Gardner, author of the best-selling book-turned-Hollywood film The Pursuit of Happyness, told audiences that Saudi youth have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture the promise of the country’s socioeconomic transformation, where “unlimited capital meets unlimited imagination.”


Highlighting a different aspect of success and underscoring the transformative power of passion as a key catalyst, H.R.H Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman AlSaud, Minister of Energy, said: “My advice to young people is for them to focus on something they excel at. Find your passion and what you want to do. If you find your passion, it will be a propeller for you to do everything else.”


Emphasizing the importance of personal determination and strategic planning in achieving success, H.E. Bandar Alkhorayef, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, said, “Transformation begins with a will, a clear mindset and a strong belief that one is able to achieve what they want, followed by a clear action plan with objectives.”


In a dialogue on financial literacy and investment, Mohammed El-Kuwaiz, Chairman of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), advised the youth on capital management, telling the audience of young entrepreneurs: “Have a clear investment plan in something you understand, study profit and risk, diversify, and start early,” he suggested, emphasizing the importance of early and informed financial planning.


Discussing the evolving educational landscape, Her Excellency Rawan Bint Najeeb Tawfiqi, Minister of Youth Affairs, Bahrain, spoke about the importance of adapting to change in learning. “Today's learning extends beyond classrooms, encompassing diverse experiences and embracing differences. It’s about acknowledging and adapting to change,” she highlighted, underscoring the need for education to evolve with changing times.


Highlighting Saudi Arabia's focus on space exploration, Rayyanah Barnawi, an astronaut at the Saudi Space Agency, discussed the multifaceted nature of astronaut selection. She explained: “Our mission involved exploring and experimenting in medicine, biology, physics, and outreach with kids. Teamwork and mutual support were crucial to our success.”


Dr. Badr Al-Badr, CEO of the Misk Foundation, reflected on the impressive trajectory of the Misk Global Forum, noting the event’s growth since its inception, which has now welcomed nearly 800 speakers and over 100,000 attendees across six editions. 


Emphasizing this year's theme, “The Big Now”, Dr. Al-Badr said: “To think big, silence self-doubt, assess beliefs, and act. Beware of hindering circles; embrace positivity for momentum.


He praised the youth's empowerment and initiative, highlighting their role in shaping a positive future. Dr. Al-Badr's message to the youth was clear: adopt a proactive ‘Think Big, Act Now’ approach to actively shape a more inclusive future where all young people can thrive.


Sharing his insights on the core qualities of effective leadership, Deputy CEO of the Misk Foundation, Omar Najjar, said: “The essence of leadership isn’t business acumen or strategic plans. It’s in the bedrock of its value system.”


The forum also witnessed the exciting launch of “UFO Robot Grendizer: The Feast of the Wolves,” a collaborative video game project between French video gaming company Microids and Misk Foundation’s Manga Productions. Commenting on the launch, Yves Bléhaut, SVP of Strategic Partnerships at Microids, said, “Together, games and animation can turn synergy into strategy. We are building a strategy for the Kingdom, and Manga Productions is our key partner in this journey.”


In addition, the MISK Art Institute hosted the Misk Art Competition, which saw a plethora of thought-provoking art pieces submitted from artists around the world. Mohannad Bahari emerged as the winner of the competition, which was determined by tens of thousands of public votes cast during the Forum. 


Concluding the 2023 Misk Global Forum on The Stage in front of a packed-out audience, Mashael AlZoghaibi, Global Director, Misk Foundation, said: “The Big Now is more than just a catchy phrase. It has been our guiding star throughout the event. It’s our call to everyone to dream, innovate and dare. But more than that, as well. It’s our call for all of you to take action because dreams – however big they are – stay dreams unless they become actions.”




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