The AUA Youth Forum 2023 under the theme “Uniting for a Sustainable Future: Asian Youth in Action” was hosted by United Arab Emirates University on 12-18 March 2023. A total of 43 students from 12 AUA member universities participated in this forum. Below is a reflection of a program participant, Xinran Ge, who studies at the School of Environment at Tsinghua University:
“As I reflect on my experience at the 2023 AUA Youth Forum on Sustainability, I realize that many reasons contributed to the overall success of the forum. Keynote speeches, panel discussions, and cultural activities were filled with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage.
The theme of our event was Sustainability, which is a crucial topic. With the modernization of our world, irreparable damage has been done to the environment, many species are on the verge of extinction, and the issue of global warming has become more and more of a concern. Therefore, we need to explore and practice the concept of Sustainability to ensure that our planet can continue to provide conditions for human survival. In the forum, we listened to experts and scholars from all over the world. We also explored advanced concepts and modern technologies related to environmental protection, clean energy, sustainable cities and sustainable agriculture. Through these events and exchanges, we better understood Sustainability and various natural phenomena. This knowledge is essential for the youth to cooperate and contribute to building a sustainable future.
In addition, the forum allowed us to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in Sustainability. Through various discussions and workshops, we learned about different aspects of sustainability, such as environmental protection, social equity, and economic development. We also gained insights into how industries, including technology and tourism, can work towards achieving sustainable goals.
Our visit to Masdar City was particularly eye-opening. As an aspiring environmental scientist, I was fascinated by the city's advanced technologies for generating renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. It was inspiring to see how innovation and sustainability can work hand in hand to create a cleaner, more efficient future. This visit allowed us to explore real-world examples of Sustainability, which helped us better understand the ideas and concepts of our discussions and workshops.
Apart from the educational aspect, the cultural exchange component of the forum was equally valuable. It was a privilege to meet and learn from students from all over Asia, each with their perspectives and experiences. The cultural night was a highlight of the forum, as we witnessed the diversity and beauty of different cultures. From traditional dances to delicious food, we could experience the richness and complexity of Asian culture.
Lastly, the forum reminded us of the role that youth can play in promoting Sustainability on an international level. As future leaders, we are responsible for taking necessary action and working toward achieving a more sustainable future. The forum instilled the knowledge and skills needed to make a difference. By working hand in hand, we can create a cleaner, more equitable, and more prosperous world for all.
Overall, the 2023 AUA Youth Forum on Sustainability was a truly unforgettable experience. During the forum, we had an opportunity to raise awareness on various aspects of Sustainability, connect with fellow students, and get inspired to act. AUA Youth Forum was a testament to the importance of youth in promoting Sustainability and a reminder that we can create a better future for ourselves and generations to come.”
Written by Xinran Ge, School of Environment, Tsinghua University
Edited by Darine Razmadze
Photos shared by United Arab Emirates University