Empowering Youth: A fundamental pillar of Muslim Council of Elders’ work

ABU DHABI: The Muslim Council of Elders, chaired by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, significantly focuses on empowering youth and enhancing their skills to meet global challenges. This commitment stems from the Council’s belief in the crucial role of youth in fostering peace and promoting coexistence, viewing them as the backbone of nations and their promising future.

A standout initiative by the Muslim Council of Elders to nurture young people’s abilities and refine their skills in peace-making and human coexistence is the Emerging Peacemakers Forum. The first edition of this forum was launched in London in 2018, organised by the Council in collaboration with Al-Azhar and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The second edition was held in July 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland, in partnership with the World Council of Churches and the Rose Castle Foundation, each welcoming 50 young participants from around the globe.

The forum serves as a dialogue platform for young individuals aged 18 to 30
, who are committed to developing innovative and lasting solutions for peace in communities. It aims to empower young people to initiate national and regional peace-building projects and to disseminate the principles of tolerance and human fraternity.

In its endeavour to spread and reinforce the values of human fraternity, tolerance, and coexistence among the youth, the Council launched the Global Student Dialogues on Human Fraternity programme in cooperation with Georgetown University. This programme aims to familiarise university students with human fraternity values and create a global network for students to exchange creative ideas that advance interreligious and intercultural solidarity in societies.

The programme’s second phase was conducted in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, engaging university students and graduates from prestigious universities worldwide, representing 8 countries and 5 faiths and denominations. They advanced the student dialogues focused on bolstering human fraternity within academic
communities, addressing the challenges to fostering human fraternity concepts and values in academic environments. Moreover, the programme spotlighted positive practices in this realm and proposed innovative ideas to foster a dialogue and communication culture within universities, marking a step towards global dissemination of these values by the youth.

In its commitment to youth support across various domains, the Muslim Council of Elders has prioritised enhancing youth participation in numerous events and initiatives. These include dialogue sessions held at the Faith Pavilion during COP28, the Muslim Council of Elders’ pavilion at various international book fairs, and the inaugural Human Fraternity Majlis organised this year. This Majlis was established in cooperation with the Abrahamic Family House, the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. Moreover, programmes such as the ‘Islam and the West: Diversity and Integration’ conference, the historic signing
of the Document on Human Fraternity, the ‘Arab Media Gathering for Human Fraternity’, and the International Day of Human Fraternity were emphasised.

Furthermore, the Council initiated a Ramadan programme in 2023 and 2024 to highlight the contributions of youth to peacebuilding and to spotlight positive examples worldwide that have facilitated peace in their communities. It organised several competitions to encourage youth to positively engage and develop innovative solutions for contemporary challenges, including climate issues. In conjunction with the Faith Pavilion at COP28, the Council launched a global competition aimed at igniting innovation among youth and urging them to create impactful solutions that evolve into sustainable projects addressing the climate crisis in their communities. This competition included categories such as climate change and climate justice, capacity building related to climate education and training, and the role of religions in addressing climate change, with four projects win
ning from 50 entries from 11 countries globally.

The Muslim Council of Elders remains dedicated to supporting and empowering youth through supporting inspiring models and constructive ideas that foster peaceful coexistence between cultures and religions.

Source: Emirates News Agency