Youth Exchange Programme for Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
What is this project about
Based on the country’s vision to promote intellectual dialogue among nations, and the sincere desire to develop a solid basis for cooperation, identify common grounds between human civilizations, and activate mechanisms to take advantage of scientific, intellectual and cultural outputs for the benefit of humanity and realizing that youth represent the most important segment and the best able to push the development process at the present time and in the future, the Saudi government has shown great interest in youth development.
This project aims at benefiting from Ministry of Foreign Affairs' accomplishments in the diplomatic filed and achieving the KSA's vision concerning strengthening the dialogue culture in various areas among nations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought to implement a programme of youth visits, with the support of UNDP, to achieve the following objectives:
- To achieve the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to promote a trend of cultural and scientific dialogue among nations.
- Increase the participation of Saudi youth in the international forums and develop their leadership, dialogue and communication skills through engaging with their peers from other countries in theme-based scientific and technical dialogue.
- To encourage the contribution of youth in the development process.
- To benefit from international experiences to promote youth leadership skills.
- To increase the level and quality of youth participation in the local communities.
What have we accomplished so far?
As a result of the tireless efforts of the UNDP and MOFA, the achievements were beneficial and served the objective of the exchange programme. The selection criteria followed strict equality measures between males and females in all aspects, while also giving equal opportunities to qualified individuals from various regions of the Kingdom. Throughout the programme’s duration, the visits were diverse and related to the focus of global development goals.
Programme visits included Germany with a focus on Renewable Energy, India with a focus on ICT for development, South Korea with a focus on E-education and Smart Cities, Spain with a focus on Architectural Identity Preservation and Promotion, Brazil with a focus on Slums Management, Tanzania with a focus on Biodiversity Conservation, resulting in nine youth exchange visits and three visits to China. The first and second visits to China covered the concept of Trade and Technology.
In 2010, a group of youth participated in the Saudi-Chinese Youth Forum, which had a significant impact on the collaboration efforts and the building bridges between the Saudi and Chinese experiences in medical research and clinical application. Saudi youth also participated in Y20 Summit in Sydney, Australia, and in the ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York, USA, and in the global launch of the “Digital Good” platform in New York.
The Digital Good is one of the main initiatives developed by the Saudi youth to utilize ICT as a major tool for development by creating an online platform, where citizens can contribute to development goals through a trusted channel. Additionally, for the first time, it will allow individuals and communities to play a direct role in supporting the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The platform will help raise the much-needed funds for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and at the same time, build a stronger and long lasting global community of supporters for the SDGs by engaging individuals, including youth, worldwide.
The potential for future cooperation
UNDP continues to assist MOFA in all aspects under this programme, future thematic relevance to the post-2015 development agenda can be explored. Building on the Kingdom’s support to emerging youth initiatives, new areas of cooperation can be created with various national and international entities.