Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) hosted on Sunday H.E. the President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande for a public lecture and discussion.
"UN at 75: The Power of Youth, Education, and Innovation in Addressing Global Challenges" provided a unique opportunity to hear H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande's perspectives on how to inspire young people to fulfill their potential in the face of the modern world's multiple challenges. His lecture was followed by a Q&A session which considered how youth can become agents of change, particularly when it comes to conflict prevention, eradicating poverty and social exclusion.
HBKU's President, Dr. Ahmad M. Hasnah, delivered the opening remarks while Dr. Amal Al Malki, founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), moderated the session.
During the lecture, Dr. Hasnah announced the launch of an outreach initiative enabling refugees to access high-quality online education through 50,000 edX's vouchers. Through certified courses across a range of disciplines, the global initiative shall empower refugee communities to overcome the challenges they face in reaching their potential. Launched in 2018, HBKUx offers an array of programs to students all over the world, with a particular focus on critical sustainability issues amongst other topics.
Addressing the audience, H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said: "It's through the energy of youth that we are able to tackle today's challenges. Youth are associated with innovation; with a can-do attitude. If we have youth without education and hope, peace is not likely to happen. Every child today is worried about his or her future. We are at a stage in human history where there is no excuse for anybody not to be educated. We must work to ensure education wherever it is denied. Youth without proper education and hope will hinder peace and sustainability."
His Excellency's visit to HBKU concluded with an interview by Dr. Damilola S. Olawuyi, Associate Professor at the College of Law (CL) and an informal discussion with students. Questions touched upon his vision to guarantee education for all, last summer's climate change protests, the current shape and future trajectory of the United Nations, and much more. His Excellency also outlined his ambitions for his presidency, as well as the roles he expects Qatar and other small states to play during his term of office.
Speaking after the discussion, Dr. Hasnah, said: "The role of a higher education institution goes beyond equipping students with technical skills and preparing them for the job market. Our role extends to shaping their mindset to become active global citizens who are able to address global challenges, and instilling in them values and involving them in topics that are relevant to both the local and global market."
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