Posted on March 26, 2014

Legacy events often initially provide employment in construction, tourism and infrastructure but can fall short in their provision of longer term opportunities. Once the audiences have left, efforts to maintain the drive and enthusiasm to continue the legacy commitments can often stagnate.

With the recent London Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics and the forthcoming Brasil World Cup. People are looking to events like the Qatar World Cup to make the employment opportunities more sustainable and have longer term impact.

Qatar ‎is investing billions of dollars over the next 5 years to transform Qatar into a commercial and sporting hub. The Qatar National Vision 2030 hopes to "prepare Qatar's students to take on the world's challenges and become tomorrow's innovators and entrepreneurs...and to equip Qatari youth with the skills and motivation to contribute to society".[1]

Common Purpose, the global leadership development organisation, is bringing together 45 leaders from across Middle East & North Africa, and Europe to solve the challenge: “For every 10 million Euros invested in legacy events, how can we ensure that 100 direct jobs are generated by and for young people in business and social enterprise?”

This cross-sector group of leaders will be taking part in Itijah, a four-day Venture run by Common Purpose, in partnership with Shell and Silatech. 

“Youth unemployment is an increasing issue for both regions and as cities invest heavily in large scale events, there is a potential for them to generate employment and help to address youth unemployment in particular” says Sir Graham Boyce, Senior Adviser, Bank of America Merrill Lynch & Chair of Itijah Advisory Group. “Itijah brings together bright new leaders from a wide range of disciplines and nationalities. I believe they will be able to give political leaders fresh ideas on how to meet this challenge.”

Participants on the Venture are from Alexandria, Amman, Amsterdam, Doha, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, and Tripoli, and are representing organisations as diverse as Alexandria Business Association, Jordan River Foundation, Mastercard, Ozyegin University, Biedermann Consulting, Arab Youth for Climate Movement and the British Council.

The sponsors supporting the leadership initiative are Silatech, Shell, the Emirates Foundation, PwC, DLA Piper and Cisco; “We are proud to support this unique initiative” says Rob Sherwin, Deputy Country Chairman and General Manager Corporate Affairs, Qatar Shell. “Nurturing the skills of emerging leaders from Qatar, the wider Arab world, and Europe, and encouraging links between the two regions is an important outcome of the Common Purpose Itijah Venture. It is aligned with Qatar Shell’s focus on human capacity building in support of the Qatar National Vision 2030. The employable population in the Arab world will show dramatic growth over the next ten years; given this growing window of opportunity for youth, the Itijah Venture will play a key role in developing the skills of these emerging leaders.”

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"Silatech is delighted to partner with Common Purpose for the Itijah program, bringing together young leaders from throughout the Arab world and Europe to find workable solutions to address what is perhaps the most pressing need for both European and Arab economies today--job creation.” says Dr. Tarik M. Yousef, Chief Executive, Silatech. “In addition to addressing the urgent need for more employment opportunities, the Itijah program helps cultivate the development of young leaders in civil society, an objective shared by both Silatech and Common Purpose. We look forward to seeing the outcomes that emerge from this exciting challenge."

PwC Qatar Senior Partner Stephen Anderson said, “We at PwC globally and in the Middle East are proud to support Common Purpose initiatives, and today the initiative we are investigating is of high importance to the region to what it holds. Successful mega event delivery organisations set strategy, plan, finance, develop and operate in the context of the legacy of the event. Legacy includes the long term use of infrastructure in their post event incarnation through to the delivery of socio- economic and cultural changes.”

“The 1992 Barcelona Olympics is the gold standard in regeneration, transforming post-industrial areas to facilitate a dramatic development of the city as a tourist destination. London 2012 has helped transform a derelict area of east London whereas the Germany FIFA World Cup 2006 had a softer legacy of changing global perceptions of Germany. In the Middle East mega events - as a catalyst for change - is a new phenomena. Qatar 2022 aims to provide a broad legacy ranging from a radical overhaul of infrastructure through to domestic sport participation and the international perceptions of the region. Expo 2020 provides the catalyst for a rejuvenated Dubai."

Itijah, meaning ‘direction’ in Arabic, is part of a series of Ventures run by Common Purpose that will expand, enrich and energise relations between two or more locations. It will take place at the Qatar Shell Research & Technology Centre in Doha from 31 March to 3 April 2014. Other Common Purpose Ventures include Dishaa (India, UK) and Dao Xiang (London, Shanghai).