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Speaking at the launch of the Arab-British Youth Chamber of Commerce – July 2018

I was delighted to be invited to speak at the launch of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Chamber, at a gala dinner on 3 July 2018, speaking alongside Ambassadors and other dignitaries from the Arab World, a short excerpt from which is below.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to express my thanks to Dr AlShuaiby and the Arab British Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to speak this evening on the occasion of the launch of the Arab British Youth Chamber, and for the time, energy and effort that has gone into bringing this worthwhile initiative to life.

In a world of political and economic uncertainty, it is now more important than ever that we work to strengthen and reinforce the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the UK and the Arab Nations, and a youth chamber is the perfect vehicle through which this can be done.

The friendships and connections we make during our formative years are often the strongest we have, and stay with us throughout our lives, and an investment in developing those bonds today will pay dividends tomorrow.

There can be no better example of this than Prince William’s recent visit to the region, and the photos of our young future King watching the world cup alongside the Crown Prince of Jordan. Two young, forward looking, future monarchs enjoying one of life’s most simple pleasures whilst simultaneously conveying a very clear message that the relationship between Britain and Jordan, my two countries, will stand firm into the future.

Across the board, organisations ranging from political parties, business networks and community groups have invested in developing their own internal youth networks, and I have been fortunate to play a role in building the Conservative Party’s youth network in the past, and it is very encouraging to see ABCC doing the same.

In fact, youth engagement has become a fundamental priority for governments around the world, and in the Middle East in particular and this initiative can complement the existing strategies for youth empowerment adopted by Arab governments, whilst adding value through its own unique network and outlook.

As someone who has as traversed both British and Arab culture, both personally  and politically, I see great scope for the Chamber to act as a business and cultural conduit for both sides, facilitating dialogue and cooperation, and fostering better understanding of the other.

The young chamber has a unique opportunity to contribute to this through helping build bridges and strengthen partnership between British and Arab youth, whilst simultaneously promoting trade, collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit, enabling young people to develop their talents and skills, and providing valuable contacts and experiences which will shape their individual and collective futures.

Through an ambitious program of events training, sharing of knowledge and mentorship, the Young Chamber can identify and support the business and political leadership of tomorrow.

The youth chamber should look to engage proactively at this level across universities in the UK and the Middle East. Universities are the most powerful youth base on both sides and they are the cradle of innovation, entrepreneurship and political awareness.

The number of Arab students who choose to study in the UK is a testament not just to the quality of education they can recieve here, but also to the positivity with which Britain is perceived in the region, and the Yourh Chamber should tap into this pool of enthusiastic talent to ensure both quality and sustainability.

Ladies and gentlemen, against a backdrop of global conflict and economic uncertainty, ABCC have developed a vehicle through which positive change can be manifested, through which a generation of young British and Arab entrepreneurs can be brought together and through which the bonds of friendship, exchange and cooperation can be strengthened for generations to come.

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