Leading youth in creative pursuits


HH Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said, Muscat Youth Summit (MYS) organiser

DUQM: His Highness Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said has said his heart swells with pride when he sees Omani youth benefiting from events like the Muscat Youth Summit (MYS), recently held in Duqm. Sayyid Faisal was the main organiser of the event which recently concluded at Duqm.

As general director for marketing and media at the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Paiped), it was Sayyid Faisal who initiated the MYS. He also chairs the Oman Special Olympics Committee, which gives youth with disability a chance to participate in sports, and he's also the patron of Outward Bound Oman, a programme in which students challenge themselves to learn key life skills as they battle the vagaries of nature.

"I never get enough of giving back to Oman. Some people don't understand this. It's this amazing satisfaction to make a difference in some people's lives," Sayyid Faisal said. Since the MYS began in 2009, about 700 students have participated, while about 1,000 have benefited from Outward Bound Oman. He says these events help students broaden their horizons, think about their fellow citizens, and may give them an advantage when it comes to applying for jobs once they graduate.

He said young Omanis are used to waiting for things to be provided to them, or they criticise what's around them, whereas with the programmes he's involved with are all about learning to take responsibility and influencing outcomes.

"You are privileged to be engaged, to think, to see, to live something. You get to contribute in some capacity to make a difference," he said about the students who participate.

Throughout the MYS, Sayyid Faisal spends time on location with the students, dropping in at the workshops, sitting down with them and hearing what they have to say. He says many of the participants like the fact that they can speak up and share their opinions, unlike in a classroom.

"You can see how these young people suddenly become more concerned about the environment, realise that they, as individuals, have a role to play, and understand how challenging the job will be, and it's not only about liking the job but giving in return as well," he explained.

Sayyid Faisal said the results of events like the MYS can even have some influence on decision-makers. This year the students came up with plans on topics like introducing public transportation and eco-housing to Duqm, promoting the place as a tourism and investment destination, and creating a festival to highlight the local fishing culture. The results of their work will be shown to different authorities and ministries.

"We will try to convince the authorities that these are the plans they can embrace," he added.
When it came to the Oman Special Olympics, Sayyid Faisal admitted that it was difficult to get volunteers at first, because people questioned the idea of people with disabilities doing sports. But he wouldn't give up, and the organisation is now hosting regional events and has received great recognition.

"Nothing is better than when a parent thanks us for letting their child achieve something. Special Olympics empowers them to move from disability to ability," he said.

Much to Sayyid Faisal's delight, many students thank him for the opportunity and tell him how much they have learned and benefited from their experiences.

"It's nice when someone bumps into you and says 'Thank you. I'm an MYS alumni.' It feels good to know you've made a difference to others. I'm proud of this. I tell my team, 10 years down the line we'll look back at what we've contributed. It's amazing," he concluded.

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