Doha, Doha Forum: Youth Edition 2023, powered by QatarDebate Center, in cooperation with the Doha Forum, kicked off the second day of insightful discussions held at Georgetown University (GU-Q) on November 18, touching on issues ranging from the Palestinian-Israeli war to building a sustainable world for future generations.
In his opening virtual speech prior to the first expert panel discussion, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, named in 2020 as the fifth most influential political scientist in the world, said, “We’ve had this brutal, heartless, illegal blockade of Gaza for over 20 years.” Finkelstein added, “It is a 20-year long crime against humanity, which the whole world is cognizant of but allows to continue. However, that’s only half the story. The other half of the story is that every few years, Israel mows the lawn in Gaza. Mowing the lawn in Gaza means every few years – 2008, 2012, 2014 – Israel commits a high-tech massacre in Gaza.” The panelists discussed the history and roots of the conflict that has spanned decades, with delegates from over 75 countries listening to the engaging talk which shed light on the most prominent challenges facing the Palestinian people, key players and stakeholders in the conflict, global diverging legal views and the crucial role of media and foreign powers.
In this context, researcher and analyst specialized in Palestinian affairs, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the contemporary Middle East Mouin Rabbani acknowledged that Israel have historically tried to eradicate Gazans from their homes. He noted, “Israel has always had the ambition to remove the population of Gaza.” On whether this will be successful, Rabbani noted that, “It is important to not underestimate the resourcefulness of Palestinians.” Speaking on the nature of coverage by Western media on the situation in Gaza, former New York Times correspondent based in Gaza, Taghreed Elkhodary commented, “International media are living the Israeli narrative,” adding that they live in the occupied terriroties and provide their media reports based on the stories coming from the Israeli side. She added, “Meanwhile, Gaza is simply covered as a news item with no context.” Elkhodary added, “Thanks to the journalists, like Wael Dahdouh, and to the young people in social media, we have context. Without them, we would know nothing about Gaza.” During the second expert panel session titled “Sustainability and Economic Policy”, panelists discussed the trends shaping global energy demand and efforts to maintain energy security, energy justice and the diversity of energy flows, as well as the industry’s ability to tackle pollution and reduce its carbon footprint by diversifying energy sources.
Speakers stressed the importance of raising community awareness and localizing international developments and bringing them to a local community level, in addition to searching for solutions which resonate with the local community.
By addressing the dilemma of balancing between environmental sustainability and securing energy to power economic growth, the debate offered valuable insights on how to contribute to a sustainable future and the importance of investment in renewable energy in key geographic areas. Highlighting the dynamic field of geopolitics, and the importance that the youth understand the complexity of this field, for them to come up with solutions that work.
Additionally, emphasis was made on the significance of environmental law in ensuring that future generations are not left in a difficult position as global environmental conditions evolve, adding that in order to move forward, innovators must be supported, providing them with capacity building development, and giving the new generation the opportunity in the energy industry to figure out a cleaner and more environmentally friendly world.
The second day of the forum also featured a skills session for the diverse group of ambitious future leaders, which focused on effective negotiation and conflict resolution.
On the sidelines of the forum, participants have had the opportunity to experience a range of Qatar’s cultural gems and landmarks including the Sealine Desert, Souq Waqif, Msheireb Museums, Qatar Expo 2023, and Al Minaretein Mosque in Education City. The forum will conclude tomorrow, featuring keynote speeches and a panel focused on cybersecurity, data privacy, and artificial intelligence as well as a skills session and roundtable discussion related to policy drafting and proposals.
The Doha Forum: Youth Edition kicked off in 2018 and has since served as one of QatarDebate’s key platforms to bring together youth to debate and pitch diverse solutions to decision-makers and stakeholders.
Source: Qatar News Agency