HH Sayyid Faisal Bin Turki Al Said is an inspiration to the youth of Oman. He’s heavily involved in several youth initiatives, but arguably the biggest of these is the annual Muscat Youth Summit, which started in 2009, with the 2014 edition taking place in Salalah earlier this week.
“When we first came up with the concept of the Muscat Youth Summit, very few people actually believed in supporting it, most people who we were expecting to support it were reluctant,” reveals Sayyid Faisal.
Although six successful summits later, we can safely say that any problems experienced in the early stages have been banished to the annals of history. Today, the Muscat Youth Summit has become one of the most anticipated annual events for the youth of Oman, bringing them together each year on a common platform, helping young people to make a difference to the society in which they live.
Initially, the summit consisted of just a handful of workshops that were closely related to youth issues, but now it has completely transformed, becoming a project-based event where participants form groups to work towards large campaigns that may be implemented in the near future. The focus this year was on marketing Dhofar as a year-round tourist destination.
Despite the summit’s expansion, Sayyid Faisal has even bigger dreams for it. “I want the Muscat Youth Summit to grow beyond the three to four days it is now into a youth festival which inspires the younger generation and triggers them to think,” he says.
Naturally, to execute a summit of this scale and to implement his visions, Sayyid Faisal needs a dedicated and reliable team around him. “I talk to different people and attempt to convince them to work for a national cause. I am on the lookout for people who are forward thinking, open-minded and who can add value to this growing team.”
Sayyid Faisal is extremely passionate about working with Oman’s youth, saying: “It gives me great pleasure to work with young people, those who are passionate and have the drive to achieve regardless of the challenges that come their way.” He believes that young people in Oman need to change their mindsets and divert their attention from merely accumulating numerous degrees to actually gaining some technical skills. “A lot of people think it’s purely about MBAs and PhDs, but now we need people who are more skilled and have the technical knowledge because there are numerous opportunities waiting to be explored in the private sectors.”
Sayyid Faisal also hopes to instill the values he is passionate about in his own children. “The way I deal with my kids is that education is the key, but they need to learn a set of values of respect. Because they are members of the Royal Family their responsibility is greater, they need to be close to the community, to our society.”
With this year’s summit focusing on tourism, I thought it would be interesting to know what Sayyid Faisal’s favourite destination in Oman is. “When I get a chance to be away and secluded, I go to Nizwa,” he says. “Oman is blessed with rich history and architecture and I am very fond of that. I also like going to Jebel Akhdar and parts of Al Sharqiyah.”
In addition to the summit, Sayyid Faisal became the vice-president of the Oman Special Olympics Committee in 2012 and is also a patron of Outward Bound Oman, an organisation that helps young people develop skills that will prepare them for future careers. In an attempt to empower SMEs, next year’s summit will be entrusted to an Omani event management company. “We want to hand the summit to a young Omani company who will organise everything while we only supervise.”
Sayyid Faisal’s advice to the millennials of Oman is to try different things, to fail but keep trying. He also thinks that the youth needs to be patient and less selective, perhaps venturing into different things, including volunteering, which he feels is extremely important.
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