The Youth Engagement and the Global Refugee Crisis conference explores the importance of mobilizing youth to lead and drive humanitarian efforts.

The conference will also discuss how governments, the private sector, academia and NGOs can facilitate and further encourage youth involvement in public service and build effective programs in response to global crises.


Strategic Partner

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Keynote Address

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His Excellency Mr. Hussain Al Hammadi

Minister of Education, UAE

Government panel Address

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Commissioner Christos Stylianides

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

H.E. Mr. Elias N. Bou Saab

Former Minister of Education and Higher Education, Lebanon


His Excellency Dr. Tareq Al Gurg

Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares

Mr. Tom Fletcher

      Former UK Ambassador to Lebanon and Visiting Professor at NYU and the Diplomatic Academy

Welcome Address

Dr. Lance E. De Masi

President, AUD


Mr. Amin Awad  

Director of the Middle East and North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Iraq and Syria Situations, UNHCR


8:00 - 8:55         Event Registration & Breakfast

9:00                   National Anthem

9:05 - 9:15          Opening Session

                          Welcome Address 

9:15 - 9:20          Dr. Lance de Masi, President of the American University in Dubai

9:20 - 9:25          Mr. Amin Awad, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee                                   Coordinator for the Iraq and Syria Situations, UNHCR

                         Keynote Address 

9:25 - 9:40         His Excellency Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, UAE

9:45 - 10:45        Panel 1 - The Government Panel

                         Moderator : Ms. Rima Maktabi, Journalist, Al-Arabiya

                        Commissioner Mr. Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis                                   Management

                         His Excellency Dr. Tareq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares

                         His Excellency Mr. Elias Bou Saab, Former Minister of Education and Higher Education,                                        Lebanon

                         Mr. Tom Fletcher, Former UK Ambassador to Lebanon and Visiting Professor at NYU and the                                  Diplomatic Academy

10:45 - 11:00       Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:20       Panel 2 - Community Partnerships Panel

                          Moderator: Mr. Houssam Chahin, Head of Private Sector Partnerships – MENA, UNHCR

                          Ms. Mariam Farag, Head of CSR at MBC Group

                          Mr. Karim Seifeddine, Public Affairs and Government Relations Head at Citi, Middle East and                                 Africa

                          Mr. Waleed Albanawi, Chairman and Founder of JISR Venture Partners

                          Mr. Kamel Al Zarka, Chairman and Founder, Falcon Group

                        Ms. Shaden Khallaf, Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR

12:20 - 13:40       Panel 3 - Youth Panel

                          Moderator: Ms. Shahad Ballan, Presenter at MBC Group, AUD Alumna

                         Mr. Max Stanton (Max of Arabia), Social Media Influencer

                           Ms. Haifa Beseisso, YouTuber, Founder of Fly With Haifa, AUD Alumna

                           Ms. Mary Mwende, Youth Advocate, AUD Alumna

                           Mr. Sandor Mador, Exchange Student from Sciences Po, AUD Student

                           Ms. Bushra Al Najjar, Founder and Project Leader of the Bring a Smile Initiative, Zayed                                          University Alumna

                          Mr. M. Said AlGhabra, AUS

                          Ms. Tiril Hoye Rahn, NYUAD

                          Ms. Emina Osmandzikovic, NYUAD

13:40                  Announcement of UNHCR Youth Chapter

13:45 - 14:00      Closing Session

                        Dress for Our Time, Professor Helen Storey, Fashion Designer and Social Artist

14:00                 Lunch


How can Governments Encourage and Facilitate Youth Engagement in Aid Work?

In this panel, government officials will be invited to share their experience with and involvement in alleviating the refugee crisis, as well as their experience in involving youth in humanitarian response. This panel will also discuss the role of governments in fostering positive action, particularly in light of the UAE’s announcement of 2017 as the “Year of Giving”, in addition to regional governmental initiatives. Government representatives from the region and beyond will be invited to share their perspectives on the ways in which their institutions are facilitating youth engagement in humanitarian work.


community Partnerships in Humanitarian Aid for Refugees

The world has been witnessing the highest number of refugees and displaced people recorded in modern history. According to the UN, over 65 million people have been forced to leave their homes. Almost a third of these are refugees, more than half of whom are under the age of 18. Images of children washing up ashore while escaping their war-ravaged countries and youth creating a semblance of normalcy in their makeshift schools haunt our universal conscience. It is evident that now more than ever there is a need for more concentrated and coordinated humanitarian action, that involves the private sector. How can the private sector and the public sector work together to relieve some of this pain and distress? What is the role of businesses in alleviating the impact of the crisis on the displaced?

This panel will bring together practitioners in the field of humanitarian aid as well as private sector actors, who have been engaged individually or in public-private partnerships to alleviate the refugee crisis.


Youth Supporting Refugees: A Story-sharing Session

Youth and student activism play an important part in raising awareness on refugee issues and providing support to refugees. This panel will introduce the audience to UAE (local and expat) student, alumni and other youth-led initiatives and engagement in non-official and official education assistance programs, student networks and campaigns, social media movements and cultural events. Stories of human experiences and individual/community transformations will be shared by young activists who contribute to improve the lives of refugees, by promoting positive images through diverse media channels, producing artworks that debunk stereotypes and art therapy, and engaging in volunteering programs and in capacity-building local projects.