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Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber gives keynote speech at Day of Mobilization against Radicalization and for the Future of the Youths of Europe, the Middle East and Africa on January 28, in Paris.

Our Patron and Chairman Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber gave the keynote speech at the Day of Discussion and Mobilization entitled ‘The youth of Europe, The Middle East and Africa and the rise of Terrorism, Extremism and Intolerance – what Options for the Future?’

The day was organised by Projet Aladin in conjunction with UNESCO, the European Commission and the French National Ministry of Education, and took place at the Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research in Paris.
The conference provided a welcome opportunity for exchange of ideas among policymakers, academics, business leaders, international organizations experts and activists on how to address the crucial challenge of extremism. There have been several proposals to continue the exchanges by organizing similar conferences in Azerbaijan, Iraq and Morocco in the coming months.

Abe Radkin, Executive Director of Projet Aladin remarked “As a globally-recognised leader in the field of education, your vision and the ideas that you shared with our distinguished guests had a powerful impact on the discussions throughout the day.”

The text of Sheikh Mohamed’s speech may be read below:


Madame  Director General  of UNESCO, Monsieur Executive Director of Aladdin Project, Monsieur Representative of the Higher Education Ministry in France, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to greet all of you, and to congratulate the organizers of this importance conference, which addresses one of the most important topics of our times, this is the issue of youth and the problems of extremism, terrorism and intolerance. 
I have followed the work of UNESCO in this area over the past years, through a number of meetings and forums that they have organized in order to allow the youth to contribute in the dialogue of civilizations and cultures, and to engage in the educational, cultural, and scientific policies in particular, and in the area of development in all its dimensions and aspects in general.

UNESCO was right to do so, because the youth not only shoulder the great responsibility in leading the political, social, and economic change, but also of taking charge of the future in their countries. The MBI Al Jaber Foundation, our organization, has contributed for 20 years to promote this approach through hundreds of scholarships provided to young men and women who have become today leaders in their own countries, especially in the economic and political fields.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The phenomenon of violence and terrorism that we are witnessing today, which has unfortunately lured a number of young people under the age of thirty, require all of us – countries, international organizations, private section, and non-governmental organizations – to give it the proper care and attention it warrants. We must act on our responsibility to confront violence, extremism, and intolerance on the different national, regional, and international levels. This in my view requires:

  1. To enable young men and women to receive a decent and appropriate education to guarantee their dignity and freedom, and to provide the means to allow them to participate in realizing development and progress. Education in my belief remains the utmost priority at the present and in the future.
  2. We have to acknowledge that repression in all its forms and manifestations is an outdated phenomenon, and this requires us today to enable the youth to gain their rights for freedom, dignity, democracy, and to shape their future in accordance with the requirements of our time and its evolving needs.    
  3. The principles of tolerance, dialogue, and solidarity remain a quintessential requirement of modern, diverse societies. And this requires that these principles and ideals must be at the forefront of the goals of education and need to be enshrined in all school curricula.      
  4. Today more than ever, we need to reconsider the content of the educational curriculum and to remove the language and the ideas that promote violence, extremism, and hatred of the other. Since 2004 our Foundation has launched many initiatives with UNESCO in this respect, aiming at reforming education in the Arab world to keep abreast with the challenges and requirement of the modern age. Some of the Arab countries have expressed their desire to participate in these initiatives, but others are still hesitant in taking the necessary educational reforms. We are glad that we have successfully implemented a number of key projects. But some projects have stalled due to reasons to do within other countries.

    We still today, after 12 years of cooperation with UNESCO, work together in carefully planned steps to achieve a fundamental change in education in the Arab world.

    We have organized a number of meetings within the framework of Euro-Arab dialogue through the relevant national commissions of UNESCO, resulting in important recommendations and studies, including a “Comparative School Curriculum,” which was issued by UNESCO and our Foundation in December 2015.

    We are confident that the next conferences of the Euro-Arab dialogue, especially the one to be held in 2016, will enable the National Commissions of UNESCO to formulate new visions and initiatives that will form the nucleus for understanding and reform, especially in this important educational aspect.
  5. We must give youth the right to hope and knowledge, and work to protect them from marginalization, poverty, unemployment, and drugs so that they would be able to build their future, which will undoubtedly be different from their present.   

Finally, it must be emphasized that the phenomenon of violence, extremism, and pointless confrontations that we witness today in the Arab region and beyond requires from us men and women, youth and elderly to work hand in hand to end it, regardless of the religions that we follow, the civilizations that we belong to, the languages that we speak, and the minor and major identities that we embrace.

And we must also work with UNESCO, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, and with all the organizations and international committees and NGOs in order to promote the values of tolerance, dialogue, and coexistence, and to embrace the culture of peace instead of the culture of war, violence, and destruction.

I hope at the end that the whole world will stand united with the rights of nations to freedom, dignity, and to stop the violence, destruction, and chaos that we see today in the ugliest forms in more than one Arab country.

I wish you luck and success.

Thank you,

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber

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