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Young Arab Leaders Kick Off New York Forum on Building Ties to Americans

posted on: Mar 19, 2008

Executing results-based programs that enable young people in the Middle East and in America to understand and appreciate the similarities as well as the differences in the two cultures is essential in fostering productive relations between the Arab world and other countries, including the United States, according to His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Center and Chairman of the Board of Young Arab Leaders (YAL).

In remarks before the YAL Global Action Forum in New York City on the power of dialogue, Dr. Sulaiman encouraged Arab and American delegates alike to build bridges between individuals, cultures and societies through open and frank dialogue. “Dialogue among ourselves and dialogue with other cultures and societies represents the steel we must use to build our bridges,” Dr. Sulaiman said.

YAL is a progressive non-profit organization of 500 private and public sector leaders from 22 Middle East countries. Dr. Sulaiman says that YAL is dedicated to cultivating the region’s young people and enabling them to play productive roles in a global society through leadership, entrepreneurship, and outreach initiatives.

Dr. Sulaiman stressed that YAL faces significant challenges in its mission and must maintain diligence to succeed.

YAL sponsors a series of programs — some in cooperation with the private sector and NGO communities-that work to bring young Arabs
together with young people from America and other countries in business, academic, and day-to-day- life environments. YAL achievements incorporate scholarship programs, hands-on training programs, and professional exchange fellowships, including journalism. “People’s disagreements — even on the most crucial issues — are usually the starting point, not the final outcome of their discussions,” Dr. Sulaiman observed.

Mr. Shehab Gargash, serves as the Chair of this year’s YAL Global Action Forum. He is also the Managing Director of Daman Investments, a
leading financial services firm, based in Dubai. Mr. Gargash challenged the Global Action Forum delegates to “reach out to more young people in
more ways, more often, with more solutions, and more encouragement for them to find pride in their accomplishments.” “The audience here at this forum understands YAL’s mission and embraces it. The audience not here demands our attention, deserves our commitment, and needs our respect. If we falter in providing them with any of those qualities, we risk a devastating danger that threatens the entire world. When we succeed in nurturing young Arabs with our care, our guidance, and our confidence, we will present them and the rest of the world with a treasure beyond material worth-multiple opportunities to make productive choices, not destructive ones,” Mr. Gargash said.
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