RIYADH — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy prime minister and minister of defense, is the first Saudi youth leader who has been gaining worldwide attention.
Charismatic, ambitious and bold, Prince Muhammad is known for taking fast-paced steps not only in politics and economic affairs, but also in influencing the young generation worldwide.
He has been especially popular among the Saudi youth for pushing them to express themselves and develop their skills. No one can deny the social reforms he reinforced by all means. To shed light on how young Saudis view Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and his proactive reform agenda, Saudi Gazette interviewed a number of them.
Ahmed, a 21-year-old student at King Saud University in Riyadh, said Prince Muhammad is currently the role model of Saudi youth.
“He inspired everyone of our generation. I remember a few years ago the common belief was the Saudi youth lacked knowledge and experience. No one placed their trust in us, even in workplaces. Everyone wanted employees with tens of years’ experience and no one would employ fresh hands. Now, this situation has absolutely changed. Workplaces are eager to attract young Saudis to fill various vacancies,” Ahmed said.
“The Crown Prince was determined to spread his belief that the Saudi youth are trustworthy, up to the mark, and have the right capabilities. When he took over, he made it clear that he belonged to the young generation, which he believed could take our country to new heights. In every interview he gave and in all speeches he made, the prince voiced his unwavering support for the Saudi youth, and said he vested his full trust in them. The country’s youth was on top of his priorities,” Ahmed said.
He added that Prince Muhammad has changed the stereotype of Saudi youth “faster than anyone can imagine. He changed that belief by giving the youth the space to express themselves through organizing seminars, conferences and the youth to youth meetings. We cannot forget MiSK Foundation and all its efforts to let us shine. Since he expressed his belief in the young generation, the prince made us get of our comfort zone to express ourselves and show to the world what we are good at. Lots of talents started to use social media as a platform for creating their own world. We have started to see Saudi painters, drawers, singers, musicians, chefs, actors, actresses, and filmmakers … you name it. He made the Saudi youth, even teenagers, show their gifts, the gifts that they have been hiding for years, because he believed in their strength before,” said Ahmed.
Mo’ath, a 25-year-old artist, believes that Prince Muhammad has influenced the young generation more than any other Saudi leader.
“He is so inspirational to us, he overcame a lot of social challenges and motivated us to cope with the obstacles that we might face in our way to our dreams. He laid the foundation for our generation and the next generation to deeply believe in themselves,” Mo’ath said.
Mo’ath remembered the first time he participated in “Hakaya Misk”, one of MiSK Foundation’s initiatives to promote art in all its forms by having Saudi artists to showcase their work to the public. “I thought when I first participated in the event that there would be no big number of visitors because people used to appreciate the works of only well-known artists. I was literally surprised when we received thousands of visitors over the few days of the exhibition. People were really impressed with our works. All my works were sold out and I built a long relationship with many of them. I gained fame, appreciation and business by participating in the MiSK exhibition. I believe the reason is Prince Muhammad made the public open their eyes to see what the Saudi youth can do and create. Insha Allah, we will never make him disappointed.”
Meshari, a 28-year-old media producer, said the strong presence of Prince Muhammad and his charisma made the entire world look at the Saudi youth from a different perspective. “The youth look at this young leader and his unflinching determination to develop this country with admiration. He always looks to the future with great optimism, hope and willpower. He has impacted us to adopt these personality traits. He changed the way we think. He encouraged the youth and especially young women to build themselves and show off their skills,” Meshari said.