Dear YAL UAE Chapter members
We often hear that the biggest asset an organisation can have is its people, perhaps this is truest at Young Arab Leaders. Each and every one of you made a difference to this organisation, together we form the building blocks of what has become a formidable regional network second to none in the Arab world. Looking back over the past three years, I learnt at YAL that we need not wait for others to do the right thing by our younger generation, it taught me that in fact we are the ones we've been waiting for.
Some of YAL's members have gone on to become members of Arab governments cabinets, others serve in the regional parliaments, between businessmen, editors, artists, bankers and engineers a mosaic of the Arab world has formed giving each of us an affinity with each other. I have witnessed YAL members strike conversations such as those started by alumni of global universities, business links and life-long friendships have developed and in at least one unexpected but welcomed case a couple who have met through YAL have gotten married and are expecting their first child soon.
YAL has been fortunate to have received the full support of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and Chief Patron of the YAL Board of Trustees who graced us with his presence at last month's extremely successful Young Arab Leader's Entrepreneurship summit and told us "trust in yourselves" along with HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. The audience of hundreds of attendees, many of them students at colleges and universities in the region is a testimony to the importance of this organisation.
One of the best times I had at YAL was organising the lecture series where many prominent Arab speakers went to universities to encourage young students to take the route of entrepreneurship. Amongst the ones I had the pleasure of personally introducing were Fadi Ghandour, Ahmad Bin Shabib, Wael Al Sayegh and Mohammed Saeed Hareb. I still recall Ahmad Bin Shabib telling the students "I am here to talk you out of working in the government sector".
At other times we organised speaker series where prominent individuals delivered a special address to YAL members based on their experience including Sheikh Khalid Bin Zayed Bin Sagr, HE Noura Al Kaabi, Arif Naqvi, Essam Tamimi, Shehab Gargash, Mohammed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim and Parag Khanna amongst others.
It has been an honour and a privilege to work closely with some of the brightest Arab minds of my generation including HE Najla Al Awadhi, Mustafa Abdul Wadood, Louis Hakim, Rami Makhzoumi, Samar Abdul Hadi, Nathalie Nakad, Mamoun Sbeih and many others who have moved on with their careers.
I would also like to thank my fellow YAL UAE Board members Muna Al Gurg, Mohammed Khammas, Ghazi Atalla, Mohammed Sulaiman, Balsam Al Khalil, Abdullah Bin Sugat and YAL UAE Chapter manager Hala Al Gergawi to whom I will always be grateful.
Finally, I would like to urge you to continue your support for this wonderful organisation that has touched the lives of many young people in the Arab world.
Congratulations to the new YAL UAE Chapter Chair, Ms Muna Al Gurg, a colleague and dear friend.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
Outgoing Chairman, YAL UAE Chapter