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What Really Matters Congress kicks off today

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Sep 15,2019 - Last updated at Sep 15,2019

HRH Princess Lara Faisal, event organisers and guest speakers pose for a group photo during a press conference on Saturday to announce the launch of the What Really Matters Congress in Amman (Petra photo)

AMMAN — A What Really Matters Congress will be launched for the first time in the Arab world and in Arabic in Jordan on Sunday, Co-Founder of Rise for Good Social Enterprise Tala Mauge said during a press conference held on Saturday at the Landmark Hotel.

The press conference was attended by HRH Princess Lara Faisal, International director and Institutional Relationships at What Really Matters Foundation Pilar Cánovas, guest speakers and representatives from the Crown Prince Foundation and companies and partners.

Mauge said that the aim of the congress is to boost human values in a manner that resonates with the youth through awareness and cultural activities on these values, enhancing social cooperation to share the burdens of ensuring a better future. 

For her part, Cánovas said that What Really Matters was born 13 years ago in Spain, inspired by the stories of people who had reflected on their personal battles, with the aim of helping people realise what matters in life at a young age.

"This foundation was born with the aim of spreading human values amongst societies, not only among young people, but tomorrow it will be all young people," she said, noting that the youth are the future and they need to learn the values of tolerance and acceptance to make the world better.

Sunday's congress will be held at the Cultural Palace at Al Hussein Youth City, hosting between 1,500 and 1,700 high school students from across Amman from public and private schools, in addition to students from UNICEF schools and refugee camps in Jordan. 

Speaker Omar Samra from Egypt said that he will talk about his personal experience hiking Mount Everest, which he hopes will inspire all people everywhere going through challenges and personal difficulties. 

"It is important to share stories. Everyone is going through something, even the person next to you in a bus, so I want to share my story but I also want to hear everybody's," he noted.

Yusra and Sara Mardini from Syria, two other speakers at the congress, said that they will share a story of refuge and survival, which depicts how Arabs have ambitions and potential, and battles the stereotype that refugees cannot do anything because of their conditions. 

"Our message to the world is for everyone to understand that Arabs have potential and dreams, and we are smart enough to follow them and achieve what we want," they noted. 

Guest Poet Anis Chouchene from Tunisia said that he is very pleased to be in Jordan to participate in the congress, highlighting how many youth are writing about new ideas that should be part of the Arab world, in order for young people to have faith in their ideas and work hard to achieve them. 

He also said that his work involves writing workshops with children as young as seven years old to spread the motivation to live their lives to the fullest. 

Rawan Barakat, founder of Raneen Foundation, said that she is participating in the congress to tell her story and inspire her society, encouraging all those who have a dream but think they cannot achieve it to start progressing from step one to do so. 

Zaid Ibrahim, Consumer Marketing Director at Umniah, said that the company believes in young people's energies as a basic element in society's development, especially through their will and powerful spirit to face challenges, inspiring those around them. 

"Rawan Barakat is one of the examples of a story we are proud of at Umniah, as in spite of her visual impairment, she was able to establish one of the biggest audio libraries in Arabic to support the segment, and out of these beliefs and values the company is taking part in the congress," he added. 

What Really Matters congresses are free, non-political, non-religious events open to people of all beliefs, ideas and opinions and held in major cities around the world with the aim of promoting universal human values among the youth through the powerful and inspirational personal accounts and life stories of speakers, according to a statement from the organisers.

Since 2007, more than 200,000 youth (mainly high school and first-year college students) have attended more than 150 congresses in cities across Europe and Latin America.

They listened to impressive life stories from a diverse community of individuals who have overcome adversity, thrived in the face of challenge, and through example, have demonstrated their commitment to and belief in the values that foster personal growth, social responsibility and human development, the statement said.

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