Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, an incubator for Emirati talent
In line with the strategy of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre (SZGMC) to promote Islam’s tolerant culture, as well as the principles of coexistence, openness, compassion and cultural dialogue, the ‘Young Builders’ is a youth capacity building programme launched by SZGMC that combines the initiatives and activities the mosque had launched over the years, providing a platform for Emirati youth to shine as role models in showcasing the UAE’s noble messages and values.
Amal Bamatraf, Director of the Cultural Communication Department at SZGMC, said, "The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre has succeeded in delivering distinctive model of investment in the country’s youth, through the pioneering programmes and initiatives it has launched since its establishment in 2012, which target youth to enable them to continue the UAE’s development journey."
She added that the Centre has managed to gain global renown thanks to the nation's youth who embody Emirati values of coexistence and cultural dialogue, noting that most visitors' reviews on TripAdvisor describe the mosque as a centre that promotes peace and tolerance.
The name of the new programme, Young Builders, is inspired by a poem titled ‘Al Shabab Albani’ by the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which shows his belief in youth being the UAE’s true wealth, as builders and drivers of the country’s progress. Meanwhile, the programme’s logo design is a budding plant, as a symbol of the developing youth, who bear the fruits that contribute to the UAE’s growth.
The Young Builders will act as a comprehensive programme combining a range of SZGMC’s youth programmes, including the Volunteering Programme, Cultural Guidance Training Programme (Ibn Al-Dar), Junior Culture Guide Programme, as well as others that aim to develop the knowledge and skills of youth and young people of determination through collaborations with local educational establishments.
Jamal Al Dahmani, Director of Worshiper and Visitor Services Department at SZGMC, said that the Centre’s strategy aims to instill the culture of volunteering among youth, by offering young people the chance to volunteer inside and outside the Centre, which helps develop character, as well as their social skills and desire for giving.
For her part, Amina Al Hammadi, Director of SZGMC’s Cultural Tours Department, said, "Ibn Al-Dar Programme is one of the most distinctive organised by the Centre, which aims to train Emirati university students and graduates as cultural tour specialists, in line with SZGMC’s goals and mission. Since its launch in 2012, the programme has graduated over 190 trainees, who were trained by Emirati cultural tour experts to deliver top-notch performance."
She noted that the Centre also works to foster the talents of young people, preparing them for the future, through the Junior Culture Guide Programme, which utilises a special curriculum, coupled with workshops and field training at the Centre, that develops their ability to shoulder responsibility from an early age and become specialists in cultural tours in the future, and ambassadors of their country. The total number of graduates from the Junior Culture Guide programme reached 389.
Moreover, the ‘Rehab Al Hemam’ programme reflects SZGMC’s belief in the active role that people of determination play as a pillar of the community. Under the programme, the Centre organised several initiatives targeting people of determination, including cultural tours presented by specialists in Arabic and English, as well as in the Arabic and English sign languages. It also empowers them by allowing them to showcase their talents in photography through the ‘Spaces Of Light Photography Award’.
Other SZGM initiatives include collaborations with higher education institutions that aim to hone and utilise the talents and skills of students. These include exhibitions such as ‘Inspiring Leader’ and ‘Artistic Characteristics – Elegant Calligraphy and Inspiring Features’.