Misk and UNDP Launch One-Day Youth Forum on Tolerance

Sep 14, 2017

Youth leaders will hear from Michael Bloomberg, Madeleine Albright and Dr. Deepak Chopra – luminaries in government, business and health & well-being –– on promoting tolerance for peace and sustainable development

New York, September 14 –  A youth forum jointly organized by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Misk Foundation, the philanthropic foundation founded by HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, kicks off September 15, 2017 with the goal of sparking dialogue on issues of tolerance, peace and sustainability, and providing a platform for young people to contribute to the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Misk-UNDP Youth Forum 2017: Promoting Tolerance for Peace and Sustainable Development will bring together more than 400 youth leaders, world leaders, UN representatives and entrepreneurs to help young people fashion a more tolerant world and tackle pressing global problems such as religious extremism.

The one-day event of high-level panel discussions, key notes and collaborative workshops will feature more than 20 youth leaders from around the world and a roster of high-profile speakers. Key speakers include Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City; Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State of the United States; Dr. Deepak Chopra, an expert in the field of health and well-being; Achim Steiner, administrator of UNDP; and Mourad Wahba, UN Assistant Secretary-General.

Commenting ahead of the forum, His Excellency Bader Al Asaker, Secretary-General of the Misk Foundation, said: “Youth in every corner of the world are innovating, creating and delivering solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Our aim with this event is to shine a light on the transformative power of youth, to lift them up and provide a platform for young people to contribute to positive change in the world.”

Nearly 600 million young people live in states that are conflict-ridden and fragile; yet, according to studies such the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Annual Survey, youth in every region of the world see themselves as global citizens with a wealth of opportunity ahead of them. The Misk-UNDP Forum is designed to harness this spirit of global citizenship and support the advance of young people as a key lever for the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

H.E. Al Asaker continued: “More than half of the global population is under 30 years old; that’s 3.6 billion people with the numbers well as the optimism and creativity to meaningfully change their communities.”

Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP, said: “Today’s generation of youth is the largest in history, and 90% of them live in developing countries. For these young people, the Sustainable Development Goals are not merely goals. For them, achieving the SDGs means the possibility of attending school, having access to healthcare, participating in their civic and political discourse, and living free from conflict. It means having hope and prosperity for their future.”

At the day-long forum, attendees will co-create initiatives, develop high-impact ideas and build innovative social models geared toward the promotion of tolerance, peace and sustainable development as fundamental pillars of making Agenda 2030 a reality and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Youth leaders speaking at the forum include:

  • Zaineb Abdulla, Vice President, Deaf Planet Soul
  • Bjørn Ihler, Extremely Together Young Leader, Kofi Annan Foundation
  • Razan Alaqil, Founder & CEO, ATAM for Sustainable Development
  • Grace Li, Co-Founder & CEO, We Care
  • Adwa Aldakheel, Businesswoman, Professional Stock Trader, Aerobatic Pilot & Entrepreneur
  • Noura Y. Mansouri, Visiting Scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Zaid Al Rayes, Young Entrepreneur & Extremely Together Young Leader, Kofi Annan Foundation
  • Arizza Ann S. Nocum, Overall Head, KRIS Library
  • Richard Francis Apeh, Secretary General, International Young Catholic Students
  • Jonah Obajeun, Extremely Together Young Leader, Kofi Annan Foundation
  • Mishaal Ashemimry, Aerospace Engineer and Founder, Mishaal Aerospace
  • Victor Ochen, Founder and Executive Director, African Youth Initiative Network
  • Ahmed Badr, Founder, Narratio
  • Hajer Sharief, Co-Founder, Together We Build It
  • Koang Doluony, Executive Director & Founder, Omaha Talons
  • Jem Stein, Founder & Director, The Bike Project
  • Ilwad Elman, Director of Programs & Development, Elman Peace Centre
  • Jayathma Wickramanayake, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, United Nations
  • Mohamad Hafez, Architect & Artist, Pickard Chilton Architects, Mohamad Hafez Art
  • Fatima Zaman, Countering Violent Extremism Advocate, Kofi Annan Foundation and the Extremely Together Program
  • Naif Harbi, Interfaith Activist, United Religions Initiative – Sun Devils Are Better Together



Through keynote speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions, the forum will focus on the following topics:

  • Tolerance for peace and sustainable development
  • Preventing violent extremism
  • Cultural diversity and the power of creativity
  • Building tolerant and peaceful societies
  • Social media for bridging divides
  • Inclusion of Refugees
  • Never too young to change the world
  • Humor for tolerance

The Forum is co-hosted by the Misk Foundation, which was founded by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with a mission to empower, nurture and inspire Saudi Arabia’s youth to become active participants in the global economy, and the United Nations Development Program.

For more information on the event, please visit: https://misk.org.sa/miskundpyouthforum/

About the Misk Foundation

The Misk Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discover, develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the knowledge economy.  It specifically focuses on four key areas: education, creative and digital media, technology, and culture and arts.  Misk pursues this agenda both through its own programs, and through partnerships with local and global organizations.

Contact information


Sara Jurkowsky for the Misk Foundation
M:  +971 50 106 9527

Noelle Bensaid for the Misk Foundation
M: +1 202 769 6349

Theodore Murphy for UNDP
M: +1 718-915-2097

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