By Mudassir Raja
A young Indian expatriate represented Qatar in the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently held in Davos, Switzerland as one of the 50 Global Shapers invited every year at the forum.
Neeshad Shafi, a member of the Global Shaper Doha Hub, along with the shapers from other parts of the world raised important issues from responding to disasters and combating poverty, to fighting climate change and building inclusive communities.
Neeshad’s application was accepted for his contribution in Qatar towards raising awareness about climate change and advocacy for sustainable development goals. Community recently spoke to him about his experience of being in Davos as a young leader from Qatar.
When asked to comment on the significance of being a part of the 50 global shapers at Davos, Neeshad said: “The Global Shapers are a network of more than 7,000 young people working to address local, regional and global challenges. It is an initiative of WEF. Around 50 of them get invited to the forum every year. It is a huge mandate regarding my work on climate change advocacy and awareness in Qatar and to Doha Hub of Global Shapers for doing extraordinary work in our own respective communities.”
Regarding the selection criterion for WEF, he said: “To apply for it, you need to be a global shaper with any hub across the globe. I submitted a video message highlighting different works that I have been doing in Qatar. I feel proud that I was selected based on my immense work with the hub and as well as for my initiative of Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar. I was able to give young people – (especially from Arab World) a voice at the gathering, where older politicians and corporate leaders tend to dominate.
When asked to explain what he has been doing in Qatar so far, Neeshad said: “Ever since I move to Qatar four years ago, I have been known to be an environmental activist, educator, speaker and a social change advocate for my extensive campaigns to raise the awareness about climate change and sustainable development goals both offline and online channels of communications. I hold a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Over the years, I gained extensive experience in analysing global environmental and climate politics, with a special focus on the Middle East. Further, this lead me to be a part of several global environmental youth groups and have contributed to international summits related to climate policy and youth’s role in development. Since 2015, I have been actively part of the UNFCCC climate negotiation process and been invited to UN climate change conferences for last three years. I have also attended a variety of international forums and conferences representing Qatar.
When asked how being in Qatar helped him in reaching Davos, he said: “I became a global shaper in Qatar. As a Global Shaper in Doha Hub for one year, I have played a crucial rule raising awareness about environment and climate change. It is in Qatar that I have been organising extensive education and awareness initiatives on different issues. In Qatar, I got appreciated and recognised for my efforts both by the government agencies and international community here. I believe that it is because of Qatar, I got selected to attend the forum as a young leader. I hope that my efforts will encourage the youth in Qatar to step forward and become future leaders.
Regarding his contribution at the Davos meeting, he said: “As a shaper, I was fortunate to share youth perspective on ‘Voice for Planet’ initiative in two panel discussions along with eminent scholars, activists and NGO heads. I also attended an open forum with young school students in Davos. I also highlighted the efforts and initiatives Qatar has been taking to deal with climate change.
“In the coming months, we are planning to work on climate change topic with Global Shapers Doha Hub in collaboration with Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar.”
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