Misk Global Forum at the World Economic Forum

Time: May 28, 2018

Tomorrow's Jobs competition

May 26, 2018

We were delighted to be part of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the world’s biggest gathering of leaders and thinkers.

During the event, Misk Global Forum hosted a high-level debate themed around tomorrow’s jobs”, a lively discussion moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest concerning employment and job creation, the changing economy, government and leadership and global engagement.

During the debate, music star and entrepreneur will.i.am gave his ideas from the audience of how to inspire young people, saying, “it’s not just teaching – you have to give young people a cause, encourage them and make them believe they can solve their own problems with these skillsets.”

On the final day of the forum, the Misk Foundation hosted the Misk Saudi Voyage that allowed participants to experience and enjoy the very best in Saudi Arabian art, food and music.

Following the debate at Davos, we launched our Misk Tomorrow’s Jobs competition, posing the question: what do you think tomorrow’s jobs will be like?

It’s a global issue and we’re looking for your best ideas on the future of jobs

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Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah to speak at Misk Global Forum

Time: May 28, 2018

We are delighted to welcome Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan as one of our speakers at this year’s Misk Global Forum.

Internationally, Her Majesty Queen Rania is an advocate for tolerance, compassion and dialogue between people of all cultures and backgrounds. Her efforts to simultaneously challenge stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and promote greater understanding and acceptance between people of all faiths and cultures, have won her global recognition.

She is committed locally to breathing new life into the public education system, empowering communities and women especially through microfinance initiatives, protecting children and families, and driving innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, especially amongst young people.

Her passion is education. She believes that all children should have access to quality education and not only to stimulating classrooms and modern curricula, but inspiring teachers and technology that can connect them to the world. She has advocated access to education in forums and gatherings internationally, with her work and efforts to improve the learning opportunities for children being recognised at the highest levels.

In addition to Her Majesty Queen Rania, we have many other world-class speakers at the conference including international educator Sal Khan, LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue and former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. We look forward to being inspired by their work.

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Women and youth “will drive Saudi Arabia’s digital future”

Time: May 28, 2018

Diane Greene at Misk Global Forum

Women and young people will lead Saudi Arabia’s drive to embrace a digital future, a leading technology entrepreneur told Misk Global Forum.

Speaking at the Misk Global Forum event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Google Cloud’s chief executive Diane Greene said, “the excitement and embracing of change is so palatable here. I’m very optimistic about what’s possible here.”

During her first visit to the Kingdom, Greene expressed how impressed she was by young people and their enthusiasm for change. She also spoke of how the country already had female experts and leaders in the field of technology, who would find no difficulty in becoming part of the future of Saudi Arabia.

The Misk Global Forum was first held in 2016 and is the flagship platform of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discover, develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the knowledge economy.

Last year’s event was attended by more than 5,000 participants and comprised of two days of interactive, collaborative, and innovative discussions and workshops on ‘meeting the challenge of change’. Greene was joined by other speakers including HM Queen Rania of Jordan and Bill Gates, the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Time: May 28, 2018

Misk – Riyadh

  • Unprecedented interest among young Saudis for dynamic digital skills training.
  • 60 per cent of the 30 enrollees are women.
  • The first training program of its kind in MENA region.


The Misk Foundation (Misk), the nonprofit organization founded by H.R.H. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2011 to empower Saudi young people, today announced the launch of the pilot phase of a new technology skills training program for young people in Saudi Arabia, through its partnership global education pioneer General Assembly (GA).


The training program commenced today with 30 students participating in sessions run by General Assembly instructors at the Misk headquarters in Riyadh. Students will benefit from GA’s employer-driven, practitioner-taught training. The program will prepare participants with highly relevant digital skills, a robust project portfolio and a ‘lifelong learning’ mindset that will enable them to respond and adapt to future changes in technology. Following the trial phase, additional cohorts of students will participate in GA’s immersive trainings to equip them with skills in dynamic fields such as machine learning, web development, cybersecurity, and product management.


“H.R.H. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent visit to London and other cities focused on the importance of international collaboration and our partnership with General Assembly is showing, in a practical way, the impact this has on young Saudis and our rapidly transforming economy,” said Deemah AlYahya, Advisor and CEO of Misk Innovation.


She continued, “Misk’s mission to empower young Saudis to thrive in the future economy as we shift gear and accelerate into the Fourth Industrial Revolution where they will be embracing extraordinary advances in technological, biomedical and scientific progress. The type and delivery of skills must adapt quickly as this tidal wave of change, so that youth are maximally prepared to realize the enormous prospects of an exciting future. General Assembly and Misk are united in being at the vanguard of change in the way skills are imparted, so we’re proud to host the first training scheme of its kind in the Middle East/Arabian Gulf. The rapid take up and number of women who are participating shows the huge demand for future-focused training and Misk will work with General Assembly and other international partners to develop a hub of IT excellence creating a pipeline of skilled talent.”


“General Assembly is excited to be part of the radical transformation happening in the region, and to support the tremendous men and women who are looking to acquire new skills and transform their careers,” said Jake Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder of General Assembly. “The massive demand for this pilot program highlights the excitement and enthusiasm among young people in Saudi Arabia to become leaders in the digital economy. We are excited to empower the students in this pilot cohort and continue to partner with Misk to build the next generation of leaders in the Middle East.”


Over 800 individuals applied for a spot in the program. Of the 30 participants that were ultimately selected, 18 are women while the remaining 12 are men, representing the pathways to opportunity that digital skills are creating for women in the region. The first cohort includes students who displayed a strong sense of direction for how they would like to apply their knowledge in a practical setting, as well as those who possess a familiarity with data science and digital technology.


In contrast to traditional education and training models, which are typically centered on theoretical exploration of a topic, the program focusses heavily on the practical application of the skills taught in the curriculum and is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and confidence needed to take on new roles and responsibilities within their career.


By 2021, Misk and GA will offer GA’s award-winning technology training to more than 4,000 men and women in the region, preparing them for careers in web development, data science, design, digital marketing, and product management, among other disciplines. These courses will be taught on the ground in Riyadh by world-class industry practitioners from GA’s global instructor network, and build on GA’s award-winning curriculum, designed and tested with a network of cutting-edge startups and Fortune 500 companies.


This follows the signing on March 9 of a partnership between the two organizations by H.E. Bader Al Asaker, Chairman of the Board of Misk Initiative Center and Jake Schwarz, CEO and Co-Founder of General Assembly during the visit to London by the Saudi Crown Prince.


GA is a leading disruptor in the global education space and has prepared tens of thousands of adults around the world with in-demand 21st century skills. To date, over 50,000 students have participated in GA’s digital skills transformation programs, and close to 300 companies, including one-third of the Fortune 100, have worked with GA to deliver radical reskilling initiatives and develop customized talent pipelines.


Through its partnership with Misk, GA will operate alongside other leading training providers, including Harvard University, Khan Academy, and LinkedIn, to provide education to thousands of Saudi Arabians, adding to the ranks of leading education and talent innovators working to build a new Saudi Arabia.

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Saudi Arabia opens its doors to overseas entrepreneurs

Time: May 28, 2018

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the world’s entrepreneurs and inventors to start up in the Kingdom, with the introduction of new entrepreneurship licenses aimed at encouraging growth in the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.

The new licenses, which will allow overseas entrepreneurs to establish a business in Saudi Arabia for the first time, were announced today at the Misk Global Forum annual gathering in Riyadh by Monsha’at, Saudi Arabia’s SME authority, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and the Economic Cities Authority (ECA).

“The new licensing initiative is designed to help build up the private sector, particularly SMEs, and move away from an over-reliance on oil revenues.: said Dr. Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman, Governor of Monsha’at.

“This initiative, inspired by Vision 2030, will help Saudi Arabia attract the best minds in the world, transferring knowledge, expanding the economy, increasing the contribution of small- and medium-sized companiesto GDP and creating jobs for Saudis.

“We launched this at the Misk Global Forum’s annual gathering because it’s a global event bringing young leaders and established innovators together to focus on innovation and the knowledge economy.”

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Helping the world’s young shape a positive future

Time: May 28, 2018

How do we help young people around the world meet the challenge of change? Ahead of Misk Global Forum 2017, our Secretary General Bader Al Asaker has written this important article for CNN:

Young people are facing the challenge of a disrupted employment market in every corner of the world, and these changes are happening at an unprecedented pace and scale.

The previous industrial revolutions of steam, electricity, and digitalization brought their own changes and disruptions. But the much-heralded “fourth industrial revolution” is now blurring the lines between physical, biological, and digital spheres. And unlike the other phases of change, this process of change is happening at an exponential, rather than linear, rate.

This disruption is unquestionably creating significant challenges for countries, societies and individuals. But equally, if not arguably more so, it is also creating significant opportunities. Some of these opportunities we can’t yet envisage, but it is clear that many lie in the growth of the knowledge economy, where intellectual ability and technical understanding, analytical skills and creativity are prized over more traditional capabilities such as physical labor.

Both the fourth industrial revolution and the knowledge economy are changing the professional demands put on young people. And they will continue to do so in ways both predictable and unforeseen.

These pressures and challenges are global — and so must be the solutions.

As noted by the World Economic Forum, it is predicted that two-thirds of children in the early stages of school today will gain employment in roles that don’t exist at the moment. The rise of automation will fundamentally alter almost all professions. Adaptability, creativity, an entrepreneurial mind-set and strong social skills will all be as critical as the more analytical skills traditionally demanded by science, technology and engineering professions.

The risks inherent in this process of exponential change are high. So how do we ensure our children are not left behind?

In Saudi Arabia, where well over half the population is under 30, we fully recognize that comprehensive action is imperative. We are seizing the moment to equip our young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to not just meet these challenges, but to rise above them and excel.

By ensuring that our education system prepares its students for the modern world and that the world of work beyond school welcomes our ambitious young people — of both sexes — we are opening new avenues of life in the Kingdom for all our citizens.

And by helping to unleash the potential of young people in this way, we are ensuring that our society also develops into one that supports entrepreneurs, welcomes creativity and embraces innovation.

All this is in keeping with the vision of moderation and tolerance, opportunity and empowerment recently voiced by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

And our program is not just domestic. We are also acting internationally because we know that global partnerships and collective action are necessary to meet the challenges that all this change will bring.

It is for this reason that we launched the Misk Global Forum in 2016 — and will hold its second event this month in Riyadh. Through this platform, we want to develop and harness a global network that can help clarify and define approaches that can assist young people in shaping their futures.

At the forum we are collaborating with emerging and established leaders, creators and thinkers to explore and experiment with ways to meet this challenge of change and empower young people across the world.

Research we have commissioned highlights the significance of the challenge: 57% of young people in 21 of the world’s leading economies across every continent are unfamiliar with the term “knowledge economy,” half fear that they are not tech-savvy, and similar percentages expressed concern over their employment prospects.

However, young people are also optimistic, excited, and open-minded about these changes. They recognize that even as some forms of work are rendered obsolete, new forms open up — particularly in the technology spheres.

They are themselves pioneering new ways of learning — making use of social media and other tools — to learn new, real-world skills beyond the classroom that prepare them for the changes ahead. And they are also driving new, more flexible ways of working that encourage a greater, healthier balance between life and work.

It is therefore incumbent on us to listen to our young people as much as guide them. They are the future of every country, and whether that future is bright or dark depends on the degree to which we can assist them in preparing to embrace and thrive in the modern world, rather than reject it and get left behind.

The Misk Global Forum is just one part of Saudi Arabia’s dedication to this future. A future where education is built to nurture critical thinkers and innovators, problem solvers and creators, and supports learning throughout an individual’s working life. Where business environments foster new ideas, and translate them to enterprises with ease, and a jobs market that provides for opportunity, flexibility, and portfolios of income generation. And, where communities and societies are sustainable, vibrant and supportive.

We are proud to welcome international thinkers and young people into our country to express ideas, collaborate together, and listen to each other. And we look forward to sharing the forum’s developments and conclusions with the global community.

In doing so, we hope to develop a global plan to bring all these strands together, helping all young people around the world in meeting the challenge of change.

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New partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Network announced

Time: May 27, 2018

Global Entrepreneurship Network partnership

As we continue to build new connections and strategic relationships around the world, we are delighted to announce a partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Announced at its tenth annual Congress in Istanbul on Tuesday, the partnership will help aspiring entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses around the world.

It will offer programs that test and validate entrepreneurs’ ideas, while enabling them to reach their potential through access to a global network of collaborators, mentors and investors, by identifying the key components of healthy startup ecosystems.

Jonathan Ortmans, GEN’s President, said: “GEN is dedicated to better understanding what interventions are needed to create environments that allow entrepreneurs to flourish. Through this partnership with the Misk Global Forum, together we will equip innovative young minds with the tools and resources they need to succeed.”

The new partnership will complement our ambitious development plans, including our aim to create employment opportunities for 20 million people and develop five million youth entrepreneurs by 2030.

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TV’s Cake Boss Buddy Valastro at Misk Global Forum 2016

May 26, 2018

At Misk Global Forum, people from all walks of life and professions come together to share ideas – last year, the star of TV show Cake Boss Buddy Valastro came to the event, and naturally brought his baking skills with him.

Uniting old world design with modern inspiration, Buddy created one of his cake masterpieces especially for Misk Global Forum at Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey, and couriered it all the way to Saudi Arabia.

The world-renowned baker and TV star followed with his colleague Mauro on a 12-hour flight from New York to Jeddah, on the coast of the Red Sea.

Buddy particularly wanted to see how cakes are made in Saudi Arabia, so visited Munch Bakery, a family-owned bakery like his own, where he met the employees, commenting that, “the integrity of the work that you guys do here is phenomenal,” and tried a variety of cakes, including their ‘Munch Melt’ speciality with rosewater and pistachio.

The cake delighted Misk Global Forum and Buddy was also able to speak at the conference to the young leaders about how he built his business, and inspired the audience with his 20-year career. Finally, he was able to personally meet the next generation of business leaders from around the world, and learn of their own hopes and ambitions.

You can watch the episode of Cake Boss in which Buddy visits Misk Global Forum on TLC in Saudi Arabia at 20:40 on 29 October.

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Bill Gates to speak at Misk Global Forum 2017

May 26, 2018

We are excited to welcome Bill Gates, founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to this year’s Misk Global Forum.

In 2000, Bill and Melinda Gates created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting inequity and helping people lift themselves out of poverty.

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is guided by the idea that giving the most disadvantaged people the tools, education, and the latest in science and technology, can empower them to transform their lives.

The Gates Foundation also inspires people to take action to change the world, by working hard to implement changes in public policy, attitudes and behaviours that can improve people’s lives. At Misk Global Forum we will explore how we can all help young people meet the challenge of change, and we look forward to hearing his sharp insight.

Bill Gates will be part of a lineup of world-class speakers at Misk Global Forum, including former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, TV personality Larry King and HM Queen Rania of Jordan.

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Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at Misk Global Forum

May 26, 2018 

Misk Global Forum is delighted to be welcoming former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to this year’s event.

He is perhaps best known for becoming Italy’s youngest prime minister at the age of 39, having previously held the title of Mayor of Florence.

His background is in law, having graduated with a law degree – he then worked briefly in marketing before turning his attention to politics.

Matteo Renzi currently serves as the National Secretary of the Partito Democratico (Democratic Party) in Italy, and we look forward to hearing his take on the challenges facing young people around the world in 2017.

He will be joined at the event by other world-class speakers including HM Queen Rania of Jordan, co-chair and founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates and renowned educator Sal Khan.

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