The future of the world belongs to the youth.
They are the beacon of hope and positive change. The power of youth is the common wealth for the entire world. No segment in the society can match with the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of the young people.
Natalie Magness, 17-year-old Malaysian expatriate and student at Doha British School, can be seen as a true portrayal of youth enthusiasm. Wearing many hats, she aims and works to develop, connect and empower the youth of Qatar to positively impact their communities through learning from the country’s brightest change-makers. The founder of Qatar Youth Power Conference (QYPC) recently spoke with Gulf Times about her ideas, works and ambitions.
When asked about her interests, works and plans, Natalie said: “I am deputy head girl at my school. I am an ambassador for The Future is Female Qatar and the Asean Youth Organisation. I have also been involved in Model United Nations for several years. I am also founder and executive director of The Sapien, a youth organisation dedicated to uniting students all over the world in a shared passion for learning through hosting discussions. We have so far reached students in over 25 countries.
“My love for learning extends to a passion for fighting for education. I have been selected for the Education Above All Youth Advocacy Programme. Extrapolating my musical interests to musical outreach, I founded STARS4EDUCATION, a charity music concert in support of Education Above All, raising significant funds. Lastly, I am a piano student at Qatar Music Academy and have performed at venues including Katara Opera House as a soloist with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra at age 15.”
Regarding the objectives and activities of QYPC, she said: “It is the first and only student-initiated conference in Qatar to develop, connect and empower the youth of the country to positively impact their communities through learning from Qatar’s brightest change-makers and incredible personalities. QYPC’s main partner is Maker Majlis. Official digital media partner is I Love Qatar and digital catering sponsor is Talabat. Our other partners are Qatar Medical Students’ Association, Students Qatar, Greener Future and Doha Environmental Actions Project Qatar.”
When asked what led her to have such a group, Natalie said: “Early in April, when the thought of the QYPC first struck me, I was faced with two options. I could either dismiss this as another one of my unrealistic ideas or I could choose to give it a try. I knew I needed a team. So I reached out to several friends if they would like to help put it together with me and they have been beyond just being supportive since the day one. I am also grateful for the support of our 30 guest speakers, our partners and my family for believing in QYPC’s potential and helping make it a reality.”
Her inspiration for the QYPC stems from the urgent need for youth to be a beacon of change.
“Every day all around the world, tragedies, injustices and crimes against humanity occur. Reading about these events in the news and media easily makes one feel that nothing they do, could make any significant difference. But nothing could be further from the truth. Youth holds so much potential to be powerful drivers of change. And the best thing is, you don’t need to hold a certain position, have years of experience, have high-profile connections or lots of money. All you need is a passion. Whether that be fighting for fairer treatment of women, climate crisis, or combating bullying in your local community. All of us, especially the youth, can and should take action.”
The youth advocate believes everything is possible and one needs to find a cause.
“Find a cause that resonates with you, educate yourself on it, speak to your friends and family and be creative. Unique and original ideas are more important now than ever before as issues in our society become increasingly interlinked and complex. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You are young for a reason. I made many mistakes in my QYPC journey but I equally learned so much. I learned how to conduct myself in meetings with high-profile individuals, how to write professional e-mails to organisations and corporations and how to manage a team. But most importantly, I learned that there is no limit to what one can achieve with passion and perseverance.”
Speaking about the QYPC activities, Natalie said that they bring together activists, entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators from or based in Qatar, who are making a difference in fields from education to politics to business. “Our change-makers are diverse in their spheres but united in the mission of empowering Qatar’s future generations to take initiative and to positively impact the community.”
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