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Posted On: 6 March 2017 06:37 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:17 pm

Youth Empowered: ROTA announces empower youth declaration 2017

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Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), a core programme of the Education Above All (EAA) foundation yesterday concluded its ninth annual youth-led conference, EMPOWER 2017. Held under the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism for Development: A Youth Perspective’, this year’s conference provided a platform for youth to hone their leadership skills whilst taking the initiative to develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing global issues.

More than 450 passionate young people from Qatar, the region, and around the world gathered in Doha, Qatar from 2-4 March, to explore ways of using sustainable tourism as a tool for development and youth empowerment and to promote youth leadership, service learning and global citizenship.

This year, ROTA received more than 1,000 applications from 55 countries. Participants were selected following a meticulous screening of all applications and personal interviews with applicants in order to determine the most appropriate candidates.

As ROTA sets out to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, educating and inspiring youth to actively contribute to sustainable tourism is one of the key avenues needed to achieve this objective.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation states “tourism has the potential to promote inclusiveness, the values of a culture of tolerance, peace and non-violence, and all aspects of global exchange and citizenship.” Over the course of three days, youth came together to explore how they can promote these values through sustainable tourism.

During the third day of EMPOWER 2017, youth participants took part in a number of off-site excursions to Msheireb Museums, Katara Cultural Village, Doha Film Institute (DFI), and Aspire Zone. A session was held afterwards for youth to exchange views about their experience during the visits.

ROTA Youth Advisory Board Members were then called to the stage to announce the EMPOWER 2017 Youth Declaration. The declaration is a true culmination of the efforts of the 450 youth who took part in EMPOWER this year and is a true reflection of their views, and recommendations with respect to the topic of Sustainable Tourism.

The declaration includes 16 calls for action urging ministries responsible for youth and tourism, young people, representatives of governments, United Nations Agencies, youth-led organisations, non-governmental organisations and other development partners, to reaffirm their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and the urgency in engaging youth in its implementation, and to utilise their engagement in this year’s celebration of the international year on sustainable tourism for development.

Following the announcement, a ROTA Youth Service Clubs (RYSC) awards ceremony was held to recognise the efforts of the four winning clubs on their community service projects. Four prizes were awarded to the clubs; ‘Jawla’, ‘Al Bayan Secondary School for Girls’, ‘Before It’s Too Late’, and ‘Enough Loss’. Al Jazeera Academy, Al Bayan Primary School for Girls, Al Bayan Secondary School for Girls, and Qatar Banking Studies and Business Administration Independent School for Boys, were also awarded for participating in ROTA’s youth development programmes throughout the past two years.

At the end of the day, a closing ceremony was held featuring cultural performances. Group photos were also taken to commemorate EMPOWER 2017.