Posted on December 04, 2014

Over 150 young leaders, innovators, thought leaders and decision makers representing over 30 countries have gathered in Doha to explore innovative solutions to the challenges of job creation and economic development during the annual two-day Shape MENA conference.

Held December 3-4 at the Qatar National Convention Centre under the patronage of His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali, Minister of Youth and Sports, Shape MENA is the annual regional gathering of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community in the Middle East and North Africa region. The Global Shapers Community is a global network of over 350 city-based hubs developed and led by future leaders between 20 and 30 years of age, who collaborate on activities designed to improve the state of their communities. Shapers are highly motivated individuals who are selected on the basis of their achievements, leadership potential and commitment to make a difference.

This year’s Shape MENA event addresses the theme of “Economic Growth and Job Creation in the MENA Region,” and over the course of two days participants will examine such issues as the changing nature of work, current and future workplace skills gaps, technology and philanthropy, Islamic finance, and social entrepreneurship.

His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D., President of Hamad bin Khalifa University, Founding Curator and ongoing Advisor to the Doha Global Shapers hub, said "Occasions such as these remind us that the young people of our region possess the talent and ambition to build a better world, despite the countless challenges their generation faces. Over the next two days, this select group of young Arabs will work together in seeking solutions to some of our most difficult problems. At the same time, they are building networks and sharing experiences, and this will form a platform for future collaboration. I am looking forward to the discussions, and I think we can be optimistic that these young people will grow into effective leaders who will serve our region well.”

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Dr. Tarik M. Yousef, CEO of local Shape MENA partner Silatech, addressed the theme of this year's Shape MENA conference: "Youth unemployment is a longstanding problem in the Arab world, as well as one of the most urgent and critical challenges that the region faces. At Silatech, we believe that long-term solutions to youth unemployment and job creation are strengthened by the engagement of young people themselves in solving the challenges that affect them directly. Shape MENA is an excellent forum for youth engagement, and we support it fully."

Silatech is a Doha-based social initiative focused on improving employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world. Hira Ahmed, Doha Hub Curator, commented on the importance of the event to the Doha Global Shapers, saying "This is the first time in which Doha has hosted the Shape MENA conference, and we are honored to welcome such an exciting and inspiring group of young leaders from throughout the Arab world to share perspectives and generate new ideas. Since this is a wholly youth-led event, we are addressing a topic which is of vital importance to our generation."

Shape MENA 2014 is supported by a number of local organizations, including Ooreedoo (Platinum Sponsor), the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (Gold Sponsor), Abu Issa Holding (Silver Sponsor) and Silatech (Local Partner). Supporting Partners for Shape MENA 2014 include Madaeen Marketing Agency, Aviate, Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Centre, La Difference Public Relations, Qatar Living and ITU Telecom World.

For more information about Shape MENA 2014, see www.shapemena2014.com.

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