(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Highness The Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, represented by his Excellency Sheikh Ali Al Jarrah Al Sabah,
Your Royal Highness Prince Turki Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,
Your Royal Highnesses and Excellencies,
Mr. Faisal Al Mutawa,
Mentor Arabia Trustees,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my gratitude to His Highness The Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and to His Excellence Sheik Ali Al Jarrah Al Sabah, Representative of His Highness The Emir.
I extend my warm gratitude to my dear friend His Royal Highness Prince Turki Bin Talal. In addition I like to extend my warm thank you to Mr. Faisal Al Mutawa for generously hosting us tonight.
It gives me great pleasure to be here once again in Kuwait. This is my third visit since 2009 and each time has served as a memorable opportunity to meet those who actively engage with Mentor and our cause of positive youth development. It is so encouraging to know that this engagement has continued and indeed expanded even more through the work of Mentor Arabia.
It has been 22 years since I, in cooperation with the World Health Organization, helped to set up the Mentor Foundation with the purpose of empowering young people and preventing drug abuse. It continues to be my belief that there is a role for an organization to help our young people become healthy and active members of the global community with opportunities to fulfil their potential. Our role and focus remains as important as ever as we strive to build a future that has meaning and purpose for our young people in a world that poses so many challenges for them.
Since its founding, Mentor’s work has expanded to 7 countries over and above the regional office of Mentor Arabia serving to the 22 Arab League nations. Mentor is now recognized as a leading international, non-governmental organization working in this vitally important area.
Drug abuse remains one of the major challenges in our efforts to build a future that has meaning and purpose for all young people. However, although there is still much work to be done, we should not forget the milestones that have been reached.
The agreement on International Standards on Drug Use Prevention is a major achievement. It is a key strategic step in raising awareness of the importance of evidence-based primary prevention initiatives towards the vision of a drug-free world.
The new Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development identifies our obligations regarding Goal 3.5 to “strengthen the prevention and the treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.”
I am delighted to see the variety of projects and programs currently delivered throughout this region under the auspices of Mentor Arabia. We recognize the importance of collective work among all segments of society and support those who work with young people.
As a result of your engagement, your support and your involvement in the Mentor cause, we are helping many children and young people to have the possibility of a healthy life and a future free from drug abuse.
We should feel reassured by this, but not complacent. There is so much more we need to do. Your engagement with Mentor remains essential if we are to achieve our objectives. Indeed we need to attract more individuals, groups and organizations from the region to support us in our efforts.
I am aware, of course, that Mentor could not have developed as it has without the active involvement and support from friends in this region. I am very grateful for the involvement and support from His Royal Highness Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud as well as Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan who has been a strong supporter of Mentor's early international role. His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud is a highly valuable Chairman and leader in the development of Mentor Arabia. I am also conscious of the valuable contribution from the group of Trustees of Mentor Arabia - and of course earlier of Dr. Farida Allaghi and now Thuraya Ismail and her team at Mentor Arabia. The attendance and engagement in tonight's event is a sign of the strength and commitment of the people here in Kuwait and in the Region.
I would like to thank you all and urge you to continue and hopefully increase your commitment to our work. Words cannot express sufficiently my gratitude, as President of the Mentor International. Please be assured that you are making a difference and a positive contribution to the future of our world.