The Al Sharq Youth Conference opened Wednesday in Malaysia with the attendance of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Wadah Khanfar, chairman of event organizer, the Al Sharq Forum.

The conference, focusing on the potential of youth and new ideas for a brighter future, also features the attendance of Rumeysa Kadak, a deputy from Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Turkey’s Ambassador to Malaysia Merve Safa Kavakci.

In his opening speech, Khanfar spoke on the impact caused by recent changes and technological developments.

“We need new values to bring us together as world nations,” he said. “The world is more global and interconnected now. We have to employ values which conceive the future.”

Mahathir underlined that the youth play an important role in the changes facing the world.

“As a long-term politician, I have always endeavored to fulfill the demands of youth organizations,” he said. “If I desire to see a change, I believe youth are the best way.”

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Khanfar said: “We give important messages to the world with the Turkey-Malaysia model and through our youth. Taking into consideration the examples of these two countries, we show that Islamic countries can democratize and succeed in economic development.”

“The world of Islam is not limited to only dark and negative stories. We have two important examples from which people can learn lessons,” he added.

On the first day of the conference, Malaysian Education Minister Maszlee Malik and other intellectuals gave speeches in panels on youth and artificial intelligence. A total of 1,000 participants from 50 different countries attended the conference.

In one panel, Turkey’s Kavakci talked about global multipolarism, elite minorities’ economic hegemony over majorities, and the positive and negative outcomes of modernism.

“The power that we’re looking for is present in the youth. They should find and uncover that power,” Kavakci said, urging young people to believe in the power they have inside themselves.

Anadolu Agency and Turkish Airlines are among the sponsors of the conference, which will end Friday. The previous four conferences were held in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Al Sharq Forum, founded in 2012, is an independent international organization which aims to develop long-term strategies for the future in terms of political, social and economic development for people living in the Al Sharq or greater Mideast region.

Was first published by Anadolu Agency