The National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) inaugurated the First Global Forum for Youth Leaders on Drug Use Prevention in partnership with the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific in the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.
The event, under the theme ‘Take Control, Lead the World’, is being held in Abu Dhabi for the first time ever, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The opening session was attended by HE Ahmed Mohammed Al Humairi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and HE Dr. Hamad Al Ghaferi, NRC’s Director General. Other attendees included representatives of government and private entities in the UAE. Reflecting NRC’s strong belief in the power of youth, the forum is being held to strengthen bonds between youth leaders who are able to bring a positive change among their peers and within their communities, and to spread knowledge and awareness about the dangers of the disease of addiction.
The forum, taking place at the Armed Forces Officers Club until February 14 2014, aims to open up new channels of communication between young Emiratis and their peers from around the world. The sessions and workshops will provide participants with the necessary skills and scientific solutions to combat the disease of addiction, to lead a healthier lifestyle, and to inspire those around them to do the same.
HE Dr. Hamad Al Ghaferi said: “The First Global Forum for Youth Leaders on Drug Use Prevention is being held in collaboration with The Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific and reflects our sincere efforts to develop the capacity of Emirati youth in combating the disease of addiction in our society. NRC is committed to continuing to invest in strategic partnerships with leading international specialized organizations – such as this partnership with the Colombo Plan; we are looking to supporting the UAE’s efforts in fighting substance use – here and abroad – and in creating opportunities for knowledge sharing with our international counterparts.”
The Global Youth Forum is considered one of the milestones in a long series of collaborations between NRC and Colombo Plan. The most recent collaboration will see NRC launching the Arabic version of the ‘International Journal for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse’. The journal wil be the first Arabic publication to specialize in region-relevant research and studies in the field of addiction and the extent of its impacts on society.
For his part, Mr. Tay Bian, Acting Secretary General for Colombo Plan, expressed his optimism regarding Abu Dhabi hosting this forum, and his belief in its ability to spread knowledge and raise awareness on the principles of prevention of substance use. He also stressed how organizing similar events to the forum can have an impact on reducing the rate of addiction worldwide.
The event welcomes 400 participants from 46 countries around the world, as well as 180 participants from various local entities, which include: the UAE Ministry of Health, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, Dubai Health Authority, Khalifa University, University of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, Dubai Police, the Higher Colleges of Technology, as well as a number of other parties.
The forum’s sessions will address a range of themes, such as the role of the media in promoting the prevention of substance use. It offers workshops and lectures designed to provide youth with the necessary skills to combat susbstance use in their communities, providing them with the best practices that will enable them to become true leaders of the future.
The forum was previously held in Asia for eight cycles before NRC and Colombo Plan decided to open it up on a more global scale and bring it to Abu Dhabi.
Prior to the forum, the National Rehabilitation Center headed The Asian Centre for Certification and Education of Addiction Professionals Commissioners meeting, which is part Colombo Plan’s drug program. The meeting was held over two consecutive days in Abu Dhabi, where member states showcased the accomplishments achieved by each in preventing the disease of addiction and in its treatment. Members also reviewed the methodologies used in this context.
The meeting was chaired by HE Dr. Hamad Al Ghaferi, who recently joined the committee, in the presence of Mr. Tay Bian, and a group of representatives from 11 countries including Malaysia, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
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