The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Young Leaders Summit began yesterday in Istanbul with participants from around the world seeking to boost the role of youth in Muslim societies and new government policies to help this cause. The two-day summit brings together young and influential figures from OIC member countries under the theme of "Unity in Action for Development, Peace and Justice"
Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç addressed the high-level panel titled "Role of Governments in Ensuring Youth Development" where he said it was important for governments to give opportunities to youth to express themselves and pointed out that although social media provided such a platform, a real-world approach or "a real touch" is needed to resolve issues. "Governments should supply tools for the youth to enable them to express themselves," he said.
Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov said people under the age of 35 constitute 66 percent of the population in his country and they are striving to maintain the youth policy Azerbaijan first established after gaining independence from the Soviet Union. "We established a 10-year policy to address the needs of youth and, since 2011, the Azerbaijani presidency offers incentives for young entrepreneurs. Azerbaijan, as part of the Muslim world, dedicates itself to the support of youth and cooperation between the youth of different countries in international platforms," he said. The summit is the first of its kind for the OIC, which gathers representatives from 57 countries from the Muslim world and is organized by the Istanbul-based Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC). The summit's declaration will be presented at the OIC summit of heads of state and government, which will convene in Istanbul on April 13-14. The summit aims to build bridges between Muslim youth from different countries and the Youth and Sports Ministries of member states will coordinate the events at the summit, which will focus on developing strategic policies to address youth problems. An awards ceremony will also be held as part of the summit for "10 Young Muslims Who Can Change the World."