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21 March 2012
New Approaches to Job Negotiations: Empowering Emirati Youth in a Global Economy”

The Gender and Public Policy Program organized a workshop entitled “New Approaches to Job Negotiations: Empowering Emirati Youth in a Global Economy” for Emirati undergraduate students enrolled in some of the country’s leading national universities
 
Gender Program Organized a Workshop for Undergraduate Emirati Students 
 
The Gender and Public Policy Program organized a workshop entitled “New Approaches to Job Negotiations: Empowering Emirati Youth in a Global Economy” for Emirati undergraduate students enrolled in some of the country’s leading national universities (such as Zayed, DMC, DWC, HCT Al Ain). This workshop culminates a multi-year joint research initiative between researchers from the gender program and Harvard University which investigated the nature of the interaction between young graduates and employers through a series of experimental studies on job negotiations in the UAE. For the first time in this region, research takes a new cutting edge psychological approach to employment and school to work transitions of nationals in a global context. This research goes beyond the skill mismatch argument and introduces a new psychological perspective on empowerment in globalizing contexts. Accordingly, the workshop was designed around issues which are crucial to understanding and solving school to work transitions among youth in the globalized context of the UAE. These include: Stereotypes, empowerment, and self awareness.
 
The workshop was designed by Dr. May Al Dabbagh, the Director of the Gender and Public Policy Program at DSG and Dr. Hannah Riley Bowles from Harvard University and organized and directed by Ghalia Gargani, Program Manager of the Gender Program. It included the perspectives of practitioners from various sectors and industries (both private and public) from across the Emirates, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah who shared their experiences about how to think strategically about building a career and contributing to society more broadly. The workshop was designed to provide an interactive platform for students to speak with a select group of male and female role models in the UAE about their experiences with jobs, job interviews, career transitions, and ambitions. 
 
H.E. Tariq Hilal Lootah, Executive President of DSG was in attendance to kick start the workshop and give some insightful and encouraging words to the young students by sharing some of his own experiences and career choices. The keynote address was given by H.E. Noura Al Kaabi, FNC member and Head of Tawasol and Human Development and CEO Designate of twofour54. Mr. Rebea Ataya, founder and CEO of Bayt.com and Dr. Fatma Abdulla, a non-resident fellow at DSG were among the panelists, in addition to eight role Emirati role models from diverse backgrounds and sectors: Saqr Ahmed Mohamed, Head of People Services Unit, People Excellence Department, Executive Council, Dubai; Anisa Al Sharif, Head, Social Development, Policy and Strategy, Executive Council, Dubai; Mishaal Gergawi, Independent Writer; Noor Jallaf, Senior Business Counsellor, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and Aisha Al Shamsi, Senior Development Officer, Dubai School of Government; Reem Al Thawadi, Communications Officer, Emirates Wildlife Society; and Dr. Mohammad Al Redha, Acting Director, Health Data & Information Analysis Department-Health Policy & Strategy Sector. 
 
Dr May Al Dabbagh said: “The workshop was organised to impact a move beyond the ‘skills mismatch’ argument for the failures of the school-to-work transition of youth in the UAE, and introduce a new psychological perspective on empowerment. The collaborative effort brings the experiences and perspectives of individuals who are leaders in their communities, organizations and fields. Through the initiative, we aimed to present an alternative empowering view of what matters in the school-to-work transition for the youth in the UAE.”
 
Ghalia Gargani said: “One of the key features of our workshop was the interactive session with a group of vibrant Emirati role models who are alumni of Emirati universities and represent a diverse group of work experiences and industries. Their impactful insight on their respective organizations and communities,in addition to their ability to reflect on work experiences and share stories with students in an interactive and effective manner proved highly valuable to the students.”
 
The workshop was very well received by the students. The evaluation results showed that the majority of students (over 90%) rated the workshop as “excellent.” Similarly, approximately 90% strongly agreed that the workshop was enjoyable; provided useful content; made students think about job and career opportunities in new ways; and that they would recommend this workshop to others.

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