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Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Gulf Family Forum tackles the challenges of the digital age

Gulf Family Forum tackles the challenges of the digital age

Experts in family affairs and relationships are taking part in the first ever Gulf Family Forum panel series, which opened on Wednesday to coincide with this year’s Gulf Family Day.

The two-day event, organized by the Family Affairs Council in collaboration with the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council and under the patronage of the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry, is titled “Future Family Opportunities and Challenges in the Gulf.”

It will see specialists, experts and advocates for familial relationships coming together in an effort to spread awareness of the opportunities and challenges facing families in the digital age.

“We always focus on family, that’s the mandate of the Family Affairs Council, but through our work with the Cooperation Council, we found that we need to shed light on family as one of the areas of focus within the Gulf Cooperation Council,” Dr. Hala Al-Tuwaijri, secretary-general of the Family Affairs Council, told Arab News.

The inaugural Gulf Family Forum, under the title "Future Family Opportunities and Challenges in the Gulf," welcomed experts, specialists, and family advocates in a series of panel discussions.

“In Gulf countries, social, cultural and even economic contexts are similar to a large extent. That creates the need to highlight our social affairs, including family affairs. That’s where the forum and integrated work was suggested, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t work with other Arab countries or global societies to address all family issues,” she said.

The forum seeks to highlight aspects of contemporary family life with the aim of strengthening value systems, creating a generation that is current, and tackling ways to evolve while also preserving religious and social values.

The panels will discusses family values in the Gulf, the effects of technology and virtual reality, family economics, best practices for child support, the role of the elderly in the digital age, family health and creating a cohesive family dynamic.

The experts will seek to provide ways for families to cope at a time when digital platforms are the primary social domain, while also strengthening family bonds.

“The value of family is existent and authentic, but it was gained through family, social gatherings and on our streets,” family consultant Ghadeer Musalli said during one of the panel discussions.

“Now the media is the street our children play on.”

Breaking the traditional view of women as caretakers, the forum also aims to acknowledge their role in growing economic infrastructures within the region.

“Communities within Gulf Cooperation Council countries have many similar issues and societal aspects related to the family … as well as a shared interest in the issue of women’s empowerment because they are aware of their role in building and developing our values,” said Majed Al-Ghanemi, HRSD vice minister.

Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the GCC, highlighted the importance leaders of GCC countries attach to the Gulf family.

“Our true Islamic religion emphasizes the importance of family and its role in educating young people and promoting values, stressing that the Gulf Family Forum, which coincided with the Gulf Family Day, is a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and highlight common policies among GCC countries,” he said.


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