Under the patronage of Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), Huawei kicks off the 2023 Seeds for the Future program at an official opening ceremony that took place today in the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), Doha, Qatar. Bringing together 175 students from elite universities across the Middle East and Central Asia (ME & CA) for the first time ever in Qatar, the regional event aims to develop local talent, share knowledge, increase the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector awareness, and foster a digital community for young ICT talents.
High-level officials and industry leaders delivered keynote speeches, which included Reem Abdulaziz Al Mugbel, Acting Vice Governor for Planning & Business Development, TVTC, KSA, Omar Abdulaziz al-Naama, Assistant Undersecretary for Private Education Affairs, Qatar, Jawad Abbassi, Head of GSMA, MENA, and Dr. Jassim Haji, President International Group of Artificial Intelligence. The opening ceremony was also attended by Karimjonov Rustam, Deputy Minister of Digital Technologies of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Kamil Akatov, Vice Minister of Science and Higher Education, Kazakhstan.
From September 2-9, 2023, students representing 15 Middle East and Central Asia countries will participate in the first phase of the Seeds for the Future program in Doha. This includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Oman, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan. The participating Qatari students hail from renowned educational universities in Qatar, including Qatar University, Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar Community College, and the University of Doha for Science and Technology.
Eng. Hussain Salatt, Public Relations and Communication Unit Manager, CRA, said: “We are pleased to be part of the opening ceremony of the “Seeds for the Future" program for the Middle East and Central Asia region. CRA has patronaged this program for the fourth consecutive year, as it encourages skills development and innovation to contribute to Qatar National Vision 2030 goals. One of which is to create a balance between an oil-based and a knowledge-based economy. I would like to thank Huawei for embracing this bright initiative and thank the supporters of this program, wishing the participants good luck.”
Shunli Wang, Vice President of Huawei Middle East and Central Asia, said: “In the digital era, skilled talent is pivotal to maintaining rapid development, seizing opportunities, and economic progress. At Huawei, we’re proud to be among the first few global tech companies to leverage its technology and expertise to help narrow the talent gap through programs like Seeds for the Future. We’re thrilled to host the first phase of the Seeds for the Future program in Doha and look forward to seeing some of the best regional ICT talents in action.”
Omar Abdulaziz al-Naama, Assistant Undersecretary for Private Education Affairs, Qatar, said: “ICT education is one of the most critical pillars in Qatar's vision of a diversified, knowledge-based economy. Skilled talent is crucial to our prosperous digital economy and through our partnership with global industry leaders like Huawei on programs like Seeds for the Future, we are training and equipping our talented youth with the necessary skills to support Qatar’s ambitious Vision 2030 and ICT strategy.”
With its eye on building a diversified, knowledge-based economy, Qatar has strongly invested in its education ecosystem over the past several decades. For instance, six of the world’s most internationally renowned universities, including Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, and Weill Cornell Medicine, have a presence in Doha at Qatar Foundation’s Education City. A seventh, HEC Paris in Qatar, is based at Msheireb Downtown Doha and offers an Executive MBA that is ranked as number one in the world. Qatar Foundation has also established Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Collectively, they offer various globally competitive degrees ranging from Chemical Engineering to Journalism, and from bachelor’s degree to master and doctoral programs.
For current and future university students, Qatar offers a prime ecosystem for pursuing higher education. Conveniently situated at the crossroads of East and West, and with an award-winning national carrier and international airport, students and their families are able to travel into Qatar with ease for the start of the academic year and during the holiday seasons. In addition, Qatar extends an intricate blend between preserving its authentic heritage and culture while embracing its modern future.
Jawad Abbassi, Head of GSMA, MENA, commented: “Advanced technologies like AI, 5G, and cloud are revolutionizing how we live, learn, and work. Digital transformation across the MENA is accelerating at an unparalleled pace, and it’s crucial that we narrow the ICT talent gap and arm students with 21st-century skills. Enabling students to upskill their tech knowledge while gaining crucial soft skills is of paramount importance.”
Huawei's Seeds for the Future program is the company's flagship CSR program that aims to develop ICT talents globally. With an ever-increasing emphasis on innovation and technological advancements, this competition offers a unique platform where these young minds can exchange ideas, network with international peers, and gain valuable insights into the ICT sector that will shape their future and promote their participation in the digital community. Since its launch in 2008, more than 15,000 students have participated from 139 countries worldwide. The program has been endorsed by more than 450 senior officials and heads of states.
The Tech4Good regional competition, now in its third year, will also be held during the Seeds for the Future program to empower and engage the youth in driving positive change within their communities. This year, the Seeds for the Future program will host eight days of intensive training sessions and workshops, including cutting-edge ICT technologies, scientific and technological leadership, discussions on global topics and Tech4Good group projects, etc. Through learning and mutual exchange, participants will gain a better understanding of 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and cloud technologies, build more strengths for future growth, and improve their competitiveness in the job market. Students will also have the opportunity to visit the exhibition hall at Huawei's headquarters in Qatar, the Education City, Lusail Stadium and a tour of Doha.
Participating students will present their Tech4Good projects to the judges, and eight outstanding teams of 40 students will be selected to move on to the second phase of the Tech4Good program, which will be held in Dubai, UAE, from 10-16 September 2023. The winners will then qualify to compete in the final global competition in China against other teams from around the world. The students will jointly explore ICT's huge potential to drive sustainable development. Winners from the Tech4Good Global Competition will be invited to the Tech4Good Startup Sprint in China, where they will visit Shenzhen, Beijing, and other cities to experience real-world entrepreneurial environments and compete for a startup support fund of US$100,000.