1. Minister of Defence Hon. Mariya Didi
2. Ms. Keiko Yanai, Ambassador of Japan to Maldives
3. Director General of National Counter Terrorism Centre Brigadier General Zakariyya Mansoor
4. Members of the Counter Radicalisation Committee & Counter Terrorism Steering Committee
5. Distinguished guests and colleagues
· Assalaamu alaikum and a very warm welcome to you all.
· When I first read the draft report, I instantly thought that it would be a serious mistake if we somehow fail to bring the findings of this report to the wider public. We immediately discussed with DG Mansoor, Minister Didi, Ambassador Yanai, who all instantly agreed to join hands. Hence today. So, first of all, I would like to thank for the great partnership that made not only the production but also the launching of this report a reality.
· Secondly, why did I like the report so much? There are many reasons, but the biggest reason is that the report impressed me with the Maldivian youth’s optimism about the future. The report revealed that more than 80 percent of the young Maldivians interviewed for this report are optimistic about the future, despite all the difficulties that had been identified.
· However, the shocking fact also caught my attention at the same time. When the young people were asked if they would leave the country to live elsewhere if they had a chance, only a third said no. This clearly highlights the fact that the Maldives is at the critical stage of development challenges. The country can lose its young generation, if we do not act now.
· Significant investments need to be made for youth’s political, economic and social empowerment, harnessing the idealism, creativity and energy of many youth who may feel disenfranchised today.
· It is our sincere hope that the ‘Youth Vulnerability in the Maldives’ report, with key policy recommendations, will be an invaluable tool for the government, development partners, academic institutions and civil society in our collective efforts to better understand the intersectionality of youth issues. Youth empowerment is the foundation of achieving 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
· Once again, I congratulate the National Counter Terrorism Centre for leading the ground-breaking initiatives and community focused prevention efforts.
· I would like to thank the people of Japan for their generous and continued support provided for promoting peace and tolerance in our region.
· I would also like to acknowledge all the stakeholders for their contributions to the study.