The Young Arab Leaders (YAL), gathering in Dubai for the first Annual Meeting of the organisation and the YAL Forum 2005, today underscored their commitment to effecting change in the region through support for Arab youth and entrepreneurs as well as the further development of industries and communities across the Arab world. Established in February 2004, as an independent pan-Arab organization, YAL aims to galvanize 500 of the most accomplished, results-oriented individuals from the region who realize it is time to take a more active and responsible role in enhancing the opportunities available to Arab youth and the overall advancement of the region and its economies. This is to be achieved through: Creating an environment to nurture future leadership in their professional sectors; Opening channels of dialogue with youth, offering them opportunities to interact with and learn from inspiring role models; Ensuring increased educational and practical training opportunities for youth; sponsorship programmes and mentorship opportunities. Meeting in Dubai, YAL members and representatives from its Board of Directors, discussed plans for the implementation of the organisation's agenda and ways to further leverage their combined commitment, energy and resources to establish and launch a number of key programmes focused on: Implementing Knowledge Exchange Programs, which promote cooperation and learning opportunities between the public and private sectors and between various Arab countries; Partnering strategically with leading international and regional organizations to implement the goals and plans of the YAL and Organising country-specific, initiative-specific and sector-specific initiatives to support progress and overall develpment. Furthermore, in addition to establishing a network of YAL country chapters to include Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, Palestine and Kuwait, the organisation also announced today that that it will seek opportunities to collaborate at the country level with other youth and development-oriented organisations. In Bahrain, it was announced that the YAL Chapter will now work in close cooperation with InJaz, a Bahrain-based youth initiative headed by Shaika Hessa bint Khalifa Al-Khalifa. InJaz, which is also a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, and YAL will combine their resources and efforts in order to put in place key Internship, Sponsorship and Mentorship programmes that fulfil both the mission of YAL and InJaz and reflect their dedication to supporting youth and the longer-term development of the region and its resources. Present at the YAL Forum 2005 were more than twenty member and guests from the YAL Bahrain chapter and Task Force. These included Shaikh Mohammed Bin Isa Bin Mohammed al Khalifa, CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and President of YAL Bahrain; Raed Al-Samahiji: Head of the YAL Bahrain Task Force Khalid Rumaihi: Member of the Membership Committee (also the first Bahraini YAL member), Khalid Najibi: Member of the YAL membership committee; Abdulhakeem AlKhayyat: Member of the Initiative Committee and Khalid Jumaan: Member of the Initiative Committee. Furthermore, the Forum was also attended by Shaikha Hessa, who has recently become a member of YAL Bahrain in addition to remaining the Head of InJaz. (We should check this for accuracy??) Commenting on the Forum, Shaikh Mohammed said "Government, business and community leaders today have an important role to play in providing the necessary support and resources for the region's youth in order to help them and each of our countries and communities meet their enormous potential. The Arab world, over the ages, has made significant contributions in the sciences, literature and the arts and we must do everything that is necessary to ensure that as a people and a society we can continue to make even greater contributions that will both benefit our own region and the world over. We are confident that YAL and our partnerships with groups like InJaz can provide much support to this effort." According to Shaikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al-Khalifa, "We are delighted to gather together in order to underscore our support and commitment to the mission and goals set forth by YAL and mirrored by groups such as InJaz that have been created to support our youth and help drive advancement across the Arab world. We have great hopes for the future of our region and our youth and we expect that such forums can play an important role in fostering the talent that exists among our children and young Arab scholars and entrepreneurs throughout the region. I am not only pleased to become a member of YAL, but also by the cooperation that will ensue between YAL and InJaz in Bahrain."