Generations must work together to drive Saudi Arabia’s future, forum hears

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s generations must work together to drive the country towards a new future in a rapidly changing world, a forum on leadership has heard.

The two-day Misk Global Forum began on Wednesday at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh with the theme “multigenerational dialogue to break barriers and inspire change.” 

The forum, which organizers estimate will have 40,000 live and virtual attendees, aims to bridge the gap between Saudi youth and previous generations and create positive change through communication. 

Badr Al-Badr, CEO of Misk Foundation, said: “We have biases. We have stereotypes. We have different backgrounds, thoughts, affiliations, ages, and generations. How can we work together? We start by communicating, by talking, by having an intergenerational dialogue.”

He said that Saudis needed teamwork to realize Vision 2030 and transform the country.

This year’s forum celebrates Misk Foundation’s 10th anniversary, driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to realize the potential of Saudi youth.

Industry experts, leaders, entrepreneurs and creators will use the forum to discuss meeting the challenge of change in four areas: Skills, leadership development, communities and entrepreneurship.

Speakers tackled the importance of keeping up with the pace of change, and the need for adaptability in leadership roles.

Vice-Minister for Tourism Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud said leaders must inspire their people and be flexible.

“If you inspire those around you, you can allow them the space to accomplish so much. When a leader is seen smiling, motivating, empowering and respecting other people’s time, that is when they can guide,” she said.

John Sanei, an author and motivational speaker, told those gathered that “uniqueness” was the key to a better future.

“I want you all to fit out of the system, as that kind of personal uniqueness becomes gold,” he said. “And this is what we need to be thinking about as we move into this new world of the quantum future.

“Just like the agricultural towns and industrial plants had certain rules that we needed to follow, the future has more.

“We went from following our forefathers to following the system to following your uniqueness. This becomes the currency and we need to start integrating it into our view of the world.” 

Sanei said curiosity and creative energy were required to adapt in a world that was ever-changing.

“The skill for the future is not about IQ; it’s about adaptability. (It) requires us not to be logical in our thinking. It doesn’t require us to be analytical in our processes, because artificial intelligence technology will do that for us,” he said.

“We don’t work in the fields for 16 hours a day. It all comes down to one thing: emotional intelligence.”

The Misk Global Forum was launched in 2016 to inspire dialogue that breaks barriers, inspires change and raises awareness of issues worldwide and across industries. 

It is the flagship initiative of the Misk Foundation, which seeks to create opportunities for societal development through business, literature, culture and science and technology.

Al-Badr thanked partners for putting together 700 workshops, 600 events and helping hundreds of startups that have created jobs for Saudi youth.

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