Generation 2030 gives Saudi and French youth a chance to shape the world of tomorrow. Generation 2030, a Saudi-French youth-friendship initiative founded in Paris in 2019, brings together talented young people from a broad variety of backgrounds with the aim of encouraging the leaders of tomorrow to build bridges between the two nations and their cultures.
The idea for it began to form in 2015 during a meeting of two friends in Riyadh: Yousef Al-Hammadi from Saudi Arabia and Timothee Dufour from France.
They agreed that the youth of their countries have a lot of knowledge and ideas to share and could help each other achieve great things if they could break free of the cliches and stereotypes surrounding both nations. So they decided to do something about this, by embracing the power of civil society and focusing on youth empowerment.
If they had any lingering doubts about their plans, they were erased in 2016 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled Saudi Vision 2030, a wide-ranging development and diversification project that aims to energize Saudi society, and the nation’s youth, in particular, paving the way for a brighter future for an evolving Kingdom.
This meshed with Yousef and Timothee’s ideas about youth empowerment and so they seized the opportunity to create a project designed to forge lasting and sustainable ties between the young people in their countries.
“All our actions are prompted by a human, friendly, authentic and warm aspect that is very important to us; this is our DNA,” said Soha Al-Harbi, who has been the head of Generation 2030 since 2021.
“French and Saudis, we are attached to our cultures and traditions and proud of our roots, while being attracted by other cultural horizons.”
To encourage closer connections between young people in Saudi Arabia and France, Generation 2030 organizes themed meetings, cultural events, competitions, fairs and exchange programs in both countries.
It also works hard to promote cultural understanding and the sharing of ideas, projects and experiences in the interest of shared development. It does this by building partnerships and supporting bilateral initiatives and projects established by civil society.
“The idea is that young people are the future and that they each participate in their own way in the development of the bilateral relationship,” founder Dufour told Arab News.
“Inspiring talent profiles, having a real impact on their community, are highlighted on our social networks through articles, videos, and podcasts.”
The organization also arranges regular “alchemies,” casual, after-work meetings that take place in a friendly atmosphere. Meanwhile, its annual forum provides a platform for fostering a spirit of exchange and sharing.
Generation 2030 focuses on two main areas. The first is centered on arts and culture, including music, fashion and design, cinema and the visual arts, and gastronomy. The second concerns the economy and society, entrepreneurship, technology, sports, and academia.
It organizes a wide variety of initiatives and projects, including training in the fields of film, gastronomy and fashion, among others, and the promotion of artist residencies.