Arab-European Young Leaders’ Forum IV, 4-9 December 2016

As a direct result of the efforts of Austria, and in cooperation with the League of Arab States (LAS), the Arab-European Young Leaders Forum (AEYLF) was introduced in 2009 with the goal of deepening the understanding and co-operation between emerging leaders of these two neighbouring regions. The League of Arab States and Austria have been engaged in this important activity since then. Austria is an observer to the League of Arab States.

AEYLF presents a platform for regular and continuous exchange on common challenges and concerns. Young leaders representing politics, civil society (NGOs, foundations, media) and the economic sector are at the centre of this initiative, with the objective of discovering and realizing their potential as “multipliers”. The forum constitutes a unique opportunity for participatory and solution-oriented co-operation in a time when innovation and a deeper comprehension of our diverse societies are key to success.

Austria hosted the first Forum in 2010 in Vienna, bringing together 53 young leaders from 20 countries representing politics, civil society, the private sector and the media under the overarching theme of “Responsible Leadership – Innovative Forms for Cross-Cultural Co-operation”. As part of the second edition of the AEYLF in 2012, 25 Arab-European leaders convened in Cairo discussing the role of “Media and Civil Society”, so as to better understand their potential in becoming a viable actor in intercultural dialogue. In 2014, AEYLF III took place in Vienna once more and focussed on “Social Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Promoting Diversity – Potential and Challenges”.

Qatar was the host of AEYLF IV, which took place from 4 to 9 December in Doha. The three themes of this meeting were Youth in Intercultural Dialogue and Non-Formal Education; Youth Economic Empowerment and Future Economic Livelihoods, as well as Youth and Sustainable Development ‒ Protecting the Environment.

Participants of AEYLF IV have been selected for their outstanding personal and professional achievements and experience at a young age, competence and initiative which they will share with participants from different sectors, backgrounds and cultures.

3rd Arab-European Young Leaders Forum (AEYLF III)

Thematic Focus: “Social Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Promoting Diversity – Potential and Challenges”

Social entrepreneurs have widened the definition of traditional entrepreneurship by adding social value to their activities and ventures. As social agents they take on an imperative role in that their innovation, resourcefulness, and ability to continuously adapt and respond to changing social, economic, and political realities help redefine accountability and sustain social value in society.

Social entrepreneurship is growing rapidly as a concept and comes in all forms and shapes, spans over many sectors, and responds to a wide range of challenges. As experienced social entrepreneurs, participants will explore concepts and models and share best practices. As social entrepreneurs are characterized by their ability to quickly (re)adapt their “business models” to realities on the ground, much focus will be given to national and regional differences among participants. The potential for the replication of models in other countries, as well as building lasting networks with like-minded social entrepreneurs across Europe and the Arab world, takes center stage.

Key Program Components

AEYLF can be described as a dynamic and viable platform for young leaders. As the initiative is viewed in linear terms – thus as a process – input and feedback provided by participants and partners has been taken into account while formulating the forum’s 3rd edition. The following provide an overview of draft key program elements for this year’s forum:

Key Note Speaker: At the outset of the forum, a key note speaker will address the audience to share experiences and best practices, as well as highlight challenges in the field of social entrepreneurship. This format will provide insight in the field of social entrepreneurship and help capture current models and break down relevant regional dynamics. It also presents participants with the opportunity to meet and discuss with an expert from the field.

World Café: has been found to be successful concept at the outset of the event. A dynamic and innovative way to prompt initial discussions on the respective topics, participants will gather in small groups with a lead facilitator.

Capacity building: While candidates possess strong profiles, the forum aims at strengthening skills and solidifying know-how among participants. A tailor-made training will provide valuable insight.

Workshops: will allow participants to work out project ideas that not only depict a regional focus, but also engulfs on the main theme of the AEYLF, namely: “Social Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Promoting Diversity” – Potential and Challenges”. The goal is to pool skills, knowledge and experience together in such a way to allow groups to look for innovative, solution-oriented responses to the given problem at hand.

Field Trips: have also proven a successful way to present relevant, successful initiatives in the field that could easily serve as role models. A careful selection of trips is being offered, so as to provide participants with a complete picture of their working environments.

Cultural Program: An extracurricular activity, a cultural program will offer participants the chance to learn more about the culture and arts of the host country. Such informal gatherings oftentimes provide for unique situations for constructive dialogue and exchange.

Network: Turning the forum into a dynamic platform for sharing information and best practices requires continuous communications and exchange. Regular updates on participants and their projects, on developments in the region, on opportunities for cooperation or funding, and on future AEYLF for could be greatly beneficial to participants and partners alike. The AEYLF alumni network could easily stay connected through biannual newsletters, providing useful information. During the 3rd AEYLF an alumni network facilitator will be identified who shall be responsible for gathering and sharing relevant information.

Date & Location

The 3rd edition took place from June, 23rd-25th 2014. Rotating between the respective regions, AEYLF III was hosted in Vienna. A final report on AEYLF III is in the works and will be published upon its completion.

AEYLF III Participants
Picture: OFIDAEYLF III Participants and members of the Federal Ministry and OFID

Sponsors & Partners

Picture: OFIDConscious of the importance of full and productive employment for all, countries meeting at the 2005 World Summit committed to make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work a central objective of national and international policies. Helping partner countries achieve these goals is a central part of OFID’s overall efforts to help meet the MDGs and related internationally agreed development goals. In the past 38 years, OFID invested in numerous public and private sector projects aimed at boosting physical, institutional, and social infrastructure, improving the climate for private sector development, and creating productive and decent employment opportunities that can help real-ize the vast and untapped potential of young people in developing countries and regions worldwide.
OFID invested extensively in the education of future generations, supporting young people in developing their potential and talents as part of ongoing international efforts to meet MDG2. In the past 38 years, OFID dedicated a significant amount of its cumulative public sector lending to the education sector, in addition to substantive grant assistance.
City of Vienna
Picture: City of ViennaVienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, counting about 1,8 million inhabitants, and the former capital of the Habsburg Empire. Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, including theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts. Being regarded as the City of Music be-cause of its musical legacy, Vienna is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site after the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn, the former imperial summer residence, which was catalogued on the World Heritage List in 1996. For four consecutive years (2009–2012), Mercer ranked Vienna first in its annual "Quality of Living" survey of hundreds of cities around the world, a title the city has reclaimed in 2014. The city was ranked 1st globally for its culture of innovation in 2007 and 2008, and fifth globally in the 2011 Innovation Cities Index, which analyzed 162 indicators in covering three areas: culture, infrastructure and markets. Vienna is Austria’s economic centre, and it has acted as a hub for its Eastern neighbours since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Vienna’s gross regional product is about a fourth of Austria’s value added. Its gross regional product per capita is higher than that of cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki or Rome.
Each year since 2005, Vienna has been the world's number one destination for international congresses, since several international organisations are headquartered here. As an dynamic hub and city of youth, it attracts five million tourists from all over the world each year.
The Vienna Tourist Board
Picture: The Vienna Tourist BoardThe Vienna Tourist Board is the official destination marketing agency for the tourism sector of the city. It provides many service offers, tips and much information for Viennese tourist businesses.


Picture: KAICIIDThe King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was founded in 2012. The Centre was established to promote dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures to bridge animosities, reduce conflict, and instill mutual respect, in the belief that interreligious dialogue can help build communities without prejudice, strengthen social cohesion and preserve peace. Located in Vienna, Austria, KAICIID, an intergovernmental organisation, offers a neutral and safe space to explore dialogical solutions to interreligious and intercultural issues. The Centre was conceived to contribute to the solution to tackle glob-al afflictions born of religious in-tolerance and prejudice. With its unique two-tier governance structure of policy makers and religious representatives, KAICIID is well placed to conduct a holistic assessment of interreligious and intercultural problems, and explore comprehensive, sustainable and inclusive solutions. In 2014, the Dialogue Centre is focused on programmes on four areas: how the media form the public’s perceptions of the “Other” (followers of different religions and cultures); supporting educators’ fundamental role in building a respectful and accurate understanding of the “Other”; building the capacity of institutions to undertake constructive interreligious and inter-cultural dialogue through dialogue training and facilitation; and undertaking strategic peacebuilding dialogues.
Impact Hub Vienna Logo
Picture: Impact Hub ViennaThe Impact Hub is a community platform and working space for individuals committed to social impact and change. The community is made up of social businesses addressing challenges both locally and globally. Our members are entrepreneurs, social investors, freelancers, advocates, campaigners, artists, consultants, coaches and more. Globally, more than 7000 like-minded entrepreneurs are connected through the Hub concept, allowing for access to training and support, work spaces and a program of lectures, training workshops, community net-working events and incubation programs.
Picture: freimsWe partner with private and public sector actors to transform organizations through contemporary solutions and interventions. As Contemporary Consult-ants we are constantly evolving with the knowledge of our times, keeping ourselves and our partners up to date with current concepts, tools and trends. Each process, concept and intervention we design is unique, tailored to address your specific needs.
We work with political organizations, public institutions, NGOs, media outlets, cultural players, social innovation ventures and corporations. Together, we are committed to rethinking and improving existing structures or creating new ones. We are on a mission to enable authentic and effective transformation of the world’s impact oriented organizations.
freims: is an innovative consultancy firm with a vision to con-tribute to a fair and impactful way to address the political, economic, social and environmental issues of our times. We are here to address and assist a world in transformation.
Since 2011, we address the challenges of re-launching, repositioning, redesigning or rethinking existing systems, services or strategies. Together with actively engaged clients, we also create new, innovative, tailor-made approaches to achieving their purpose driven goals.
Vienna Business Agency
Picture: Vienna Business AgencyFor more than 30 years, the Vienna Business Agency actively supports the development of Vienna as a business location. As the first contact point for national and international companies, it offers financial support, real estate and consulting.
The goal of the Vienna Business Agency is to strengthen Viennese companies and their innovative activities as well as the sustainable modernization of the business location, in order to expand its international competitiveness.
IV Logo
Picture: IVThe Federation of Austrian Industries (Industriellenvereinigung – IV), currently comprising about 4.200 members, is a voluntary body representing the interests of the Austrian industry on a national, European and international level in a targeted and sustainable manner. It also advocates Austria as a competitive business location and plays an active role in policy matters concerning society as a whole. The Federation strives to promote an attitude of openness towards the world and supports continued European integration.
The Federation is the Austrian member of BUSINESSEUROPE, the most significant European confederation of industry and employers. This voluntary organisation comprises 41 employer and industry federations from 35 countries, representing the interests of over 20 million small, medium-sized and large enter-prises.
IV is also member of BIAC (Business and Industry Advisory Committee) at OECD as well as of IOE (International Organisation of Employers). That expresses the interest of Austrian industry to participate actively concerning global affairs.