The Shift: “If you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances”
“If you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances”. These words echoed across a hall filled with almost 300 people at a summit I attended recently. The summit was appropriately called the ‘Visions 2 Reality’ summit. It was a summit where senior executives of organisations as well as experts sat to discuss and debate current and new ideas in areas ranging from leadership, talent, strategy to organisational development. I had been selected to moderate a discussion during the day on a topic titled ‘Development of Young Local Talent’. Our session was followed by a couple of interesting sessions by experts in various topics.
However, what impressed most of the audience was a segment that featured a group of young Emirati girls from various local universities such as Zayed University and the Dubai Women’s College. As the young girls climbed onto the stage we really had very little idea of what to expect from the segment.
The thirty minute segment began with the girls standing on stage and one by one deliver powerful and emotional speeches in topics addressing deep philosophical insights such as the speech that carried the title ‘My Role Model’ to a narration of the story of the latePresident of the UAE ‘Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan’ from a different angle. The audience was at awe. It was truly a masterclass in public speaking, and in my view dwarfed the earlier sessions including mine. I could hear whispers from the tables around me asking if “the girls were just students, or professional public speakers”. “Were they educated in local schools and universities”, and other curious questions.
Towards the end of their segment and amid a thunderous applause from an impressed audience, a young lady from the group left the audience with a distinct and clear message and it was aimed at all the employers sitting in the summit–particularly the private sector- as well as the skeptics; She announced with a confident voice “This is a message to the private sector; if you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances. So stand with us and not against us”.
I’m not sure if the audience took the message to heart or read much in to it. From where I stood, the message couldn’t have been articulated in a better way. It was reflective of a growing frustration of the barriers imposed by community and many corporate and public institutions to anything out of the norm, an annoyance from the perceptions held against a misunderstood generation and a growing discontent with the stifling limitations of what I consider two sworn enemies of mine; the ‘status quo’ and the acceptance of mediocrity. I truly hope there are more young people out there who live by the attitude the young lady voiced on that day. We should no longer wait for opportunities to be created for us, doing so will only set us up for a life of regret and untapped potential. Young people who step out of their comfort zones and go against the grain to create their own chances are the ones that earnestly deserve the title ‘brave new generation’.
Abdulmuttalib (Talib) Hashim