The UAE’s First Drug Use Prevention Forum concludes

February 17, 2014 2:46 pm

The National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) concluded today its First Global Forum for Youth Leaders on Drug Use Prevention, which was held in partnership with the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific. The event attracted over 380 participants from 46 countries.

The Forum featured a diverse range of interactive sessions to address issues such as drug use prevention, how youth leaders can learn from the future as it emerges, pursuing innovative solutions for social problems, youth and volunteerism, and the role of media in drug use prevention.

International and local speakers played a significant role in the Forum by inspiring attendees and by raising awareness on the risks of addiction. Speakers also shared stories of how they were able to harness their talents and skills to stay focused on their life goals, which helped protect themselves from being lured into the appeal of substance use. Some of the most prominent speakers included: Wisnu Dewobroto, Director, Business Incubator Trisakti University, Kareemah Abdullah, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) Vice President of Development and Youth Programs; Dalumuzi Mhlanga, founder of ‘Lead Us Today’, a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe; Mohammed Al Marzooqi, Vice President of the Mobile Group in Etisalat.

H.E Dr. Hamad Al Ghaferi, NRC’s Director General commented on the forum’s success saying: “By hosting this forum, Emirati youth have demonstrated their commitment to become positive role models in their communities. They’ve proved their level of dedication along with their international peers; their passion was reflected throughout the forum’s workshops and we truly believe in their ability to become effective leaders and to raise awareness on the dangers of substance use among their society.”

H.E added: “When we witness an outcome such as the one we’ve seen at this event, this proves to us that we are on the right track and motivates us to create more youth-focused initiatives. Looking ahead, we’ve promised participants that NRC will be available to them to provide them with any support they need in applying the knowledge they’ve gained during this event.”

The breakout sessions equipped participants with basic project management skills, developed their social entrepreneurism and provided a platform for them to engage in meaningful dialogue regarding substance abuse and addiction.

The youth leaders were enthusiastic about the training workshops and were looking forward to applying the principles and skills in their everyday lives.

Petroleum Institute student, Majid Mohsen Al Amri, said: “We’ve all greatly benefited from this forum; it has helped in increasing our awareness on the negative thoughts and ideas that may lead youth to addiction. I was also provided with the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds who shared their experiences. I am definitely going to use the information I acquired here with my peers, friends and family members to make them all more aware of the dangers of substance abuse.”

UAE University student, Rawan Al Muhairbi, added: “What sets this forum apart from other events is the high number of international participants. We were able to interact with one another and to learn from each other. The Forum’s speakers were also very skilled in initiating exciting dialogues and at communicating with us in a manner that matched our way of thinking.”

The Forum attracted 380 participants, 180 of which were from different local entities including: 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, the Petroleum Institute as well as a number of other parties.

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