Organised by the AYC and taking place over the course of two weeks, the programme attracts young media talents and influencers to improve their knowledge of the sector and sharpen their skills, which, in turn, helps establish an integrated and positive media system that ensures the continuous development of the sector in the UAE.
One hundred young men and women, studying media or working in the sector and aged between 19 and 30, joined the programme’s second edition, hailing from 15 Arab countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Sudan.
Speaking at the event, Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and AYC Vice Chair, said, "We are delighted to be welcoming this group of distinguished young media leaders from all around the Arab world. We take pride in these ambitious young professionals, in their outstanding work, and in their clear contributions to the media sector and the development process in general."
"Their participation in the second edition of the Young Arab Media Leaders programme, which was designed specifically to enhance their expertise and refine their skills and creative abilities, helps us create a new generation of young journalists, qualified to keep up with and benefit from rapid developments in the media sector," Al Mazrui added.
"Over the course of two weeks, the programme presents an integrated model of the current Arab media sector, providing a platform for exchanging expertise and benefiting from the experiences of leaders and pioneers in media," she continued. "We are working to lay the foundations for the media sector of the future – one that caters to the demands of the youth, remains on top of the rapid transformations witnessed by the sector in light of technological breakthroughs, and channels young people’s talents towards providing an innovation-friendly environment for their ideas."
In turn, Saeed Al Nazari, Chief Strategy Officer of the AYC, said, "The launch of the second edition of the programme marks the culmination of the Arab Youth centre ’s efforts over the past few months, during which the candidates were selected from among thousands of applicants, and the topics of discussion were set to introduce participants to the ideal media environment, and set visions for the future of the sector in light of the widespread proliferation of social networking sites – all in collaboration with prominent partners from leading media organisations in the Arab world."
The first day included several activities, including a lecture entitled "The World Press", as well as workshops tackling important subjects such as the Golden Rules of Journalism, the Basics of News, and Media and Social Cohesion. Day one also included a session where Saeed Mohammed Al-Attar, Director-General of the Office of Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, spoke about Media Soft Power.
In a speech entitled 'The Future of Media', Mina Al Oraibi, Editor-in-Chief of The National newspaper, said, "Arab youth looking for careers in the media industry hold a great responsibility to convey the right messages to the right audience at the right time. We are living in a time of rapid changes and the Young Arab Media Leaders programme gives young media professionals an opportunity to develop skills that enable them to take on such a responsibility and lead the movement of sharing news that reflect an honest reality of our society."
"This programme comes in a time of need for developing capable media talent as we face challenges encapsulated in the methods through which news are communicated regardless of their credibility. What unites us is the Arabic language and seeing such a bright group of Arab young talent from across the region through this initiative is a true source of joy and hope," she added.
On the sidelines of a third workshop entitled 'Media and Social Cohesion', Nicolas Bellet, Director of Journalism and Media Programmes at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said, "It’s great to start another edition of this programme. In the next three days, we’ll teach participants the fundamentals of solid journalism, one that is powered by facts and not rumours. They will learn to source and check information, interview, and write stories that are both compelling and engaging. They will also have the opportunity to produce multimedia packages on a platform specially designed for the occasion. Their stories will revolve around the following themes: culture and society, gender, youth, and migration, which all fall under the umbrella of social cohesion where the media has an essential role to play."
The Arab Youth centre is working with a set of new strategic partners to organise the second edition of the programme, namely, The National Media Council, Media Zone Authority (twofour54), Dubai Media City, The National, National Geographic magazine, Forbes magazine, Edelman PR, Haykal Media, YouTube, Facebook, Pyramedia, and CNBC, in addition to the programme’s existing partners: Thomson Reuters, CNN, Bloomberg, Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia, MBC Group, Dubai Media Inc., Abu Dhabi Media, American University of Dubai, New York University – Abu Dhabi, Twitter, UTURN, Google, Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Hayat newspaper.