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Future trends as envisioned by al-Sharq Youth Forum 2017

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The forth annual al-Sharq Youth Forum kicked-off on Saturday morning in Istanbul. This year, it focused on future trends in politics and economics, business, media, science and technology, and arts and culture.

“The Sharq Youth Forum is an independent international network whose mission is to undertake impartial research and to develop long-term strategies to ensure the political development, social justice and economic prosperity of the people of the east and globally.”

Some 700 delegates from around the world attended the event, which was opened with the organizations founder and the former director general of Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar. The two-day event began at the Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus Conference Center and was addressed by the former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, former South African ambassador, Mohamed Dangor, senior producer for AJ+ Shadi Rahimi and lead al Jazeera presenter, Sami Zeidan, among others.

Opening the discussion, Khanfar spoke to the need to give space to the youth. Where we see historically the elderly were responsible for formulating values of society, he now urged leaders to provide youth with a space to have ideas and opinions.

“The elderly do not belong to this generation of technology and information sharing,” he stated.

Conversely, he notes that the elderly can provide the youth with values, adding that the youth need values more than they need ideology

Khanfar shared the same sentiment that many others have tabled, where individuals praise the Islamic world as having achieved enlightenment thousands of years ago. He, however, says that the Muslim world has left the state of enlightenment and “went back to darkness.”

Therefore, encouraging the youth to develop new agendas and not to imitate the elderly in the manner in which they engage on issues of concern.

“The future is liquid, so keep enough flexibility to build the future,” Khanfar elaborated.

All the hype about Liberland

While all presentations appealed to the audience, the presentation that garnered the most intrigue is that of Vit Jedlicka, the founder and the President of Liberland, a country founded by Jedlicka on April 13, 2015.

The country, whose borders were defined without disturbing other countries, including Croatia, a neighbouring state. But, despite the fact that Croatia does not claim this territory, Jedlicka says that it has trouble settling the establishment of Liberland.

Speaking on the future of ‘decentralized’, Jedlicka spoke to the fact that Liberland will not need a court, instead relying on centralized technology rendering court systems and nation states obsolete. Therefore, decentralizing systems of governance and the banking system.

“So you can start your company and you don’t need any state to register you.”

While the presentation fascinated the biggest cynics in the room, the idealistic framework of the country called to the fore the reality within which global markets operate.

Speaking to VOC News on the the Liberland presentation, many voiced concern that this so-called “experiment” has not taken into consideration what will happen to the gold reserves, as well as the work force.

Senior Al Jazeera presenter, Sami Zeidan, moderates a panel on the “Future of the Sharq Region and the Islamic World: Economics, Business and Youth.” 

Joining Zeidan is Yavuz Fettahoglu and Tarik Yousef.

جلسة حوارية تحت عنوان: "مستقبل منطقة الشرق والعالم الإسلامي".. شاركونا عبر هاشتاج #SharqConf17 و #ننحاز_للمستقبل

Posted by ‎Al Sharq Youth الشرق الشبابي‎ on Sunday, 8 October 2017

Lessons from the South African experience 

Al-Sharq Forum 2017 was not short of representation from South Africa, with former ambassador Mohamad Dangor, Faizal Dawjee and founder of Thinkst, Haroon Meer, speaking across various disciplines.

Notably, Dawjee spoke on challenges that face South Africa post-Apartheid.

Dawjee, using the example of Nuremberg, said that the Nuremberg trial has been turned into a template on how to deal with mass violence. But that the end point was the state of Israel, “where the victims must have their own state”. Dawjee asserted that this template could not work for a peace building process in Africa.

He said that what is common in the processors of the Truth and Reconciliation Council (TRC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is that both ignored the cause that led to the violence.

As a point that has been raised previously, where the TRC exchanged truth for justice, he says that what people want is acknowledgement for the crime that was committed,

“The TRC went after individual perpetrators at the expense of those who gave them the orders.”

Dawjee further notes that from the South African peace building process other nations can draw from the lessons of the TRC, noting that the process should have educated the white population that “although most of them were not perpetrators, they were beneficiaries.”

Closing the event, famous Lebonese singer, composer and oud player, Marcel Khalife, wowed delegates as he sang alongside a live orchestra.  

VOC 91.3fm

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