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A Visionary, a Generation and Upcoming Times - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The past three decades have been eventful and turbulent with developments happening across the spectrum and all over the world.

Berlin’s wall collapsed and along with it went those who took shelter by it. As the Soviet Union fell apart, new spheres of influence emerged reshaping international politics.

Reviewing the Middle East we realize that as Iraq fell into disarray, Iran aggressively pursued its ‘export revolution’ agenda. Soon after, the ‘Arab Spring’ wave hit the region, with Arab states descending, one by one, into chaos as disorder takes toll and civil wars break out. Alas, the nomad fighters infested the region and exploited turmoil.

It was as if the Arab world had missed the train. The prospects were dim and painted dark with amassing refugees and rocketing unemployment rates. Pessimists would point out that the Arab world is unable to keep up with the rapidly developing world.

They would say that it is a world shackled by archaic tradition and ancient ideology at a time when research, technology, and knowledge have been racing towards scientific revolutions and embarking on ultimate frontiers.

Looking from the top, it seemed that the ‘future’ was exclusively the business of others as Arabs were consumed in fighting over history.

A young generation, to which the Saudi 31-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman belongs, has come into view of a world engulfed in whit-crest and roaring waves. And it was only natural for this generation to wonder about where does Saudi Arabia stand from all of what is going around.

In an ever-changing world, patience can no longer secure stability. For stability to endure in the modern age, change is a condition. Mindsets and approaches must be reviewed and altered. Strength is key to reserving a place in today’s global scene.

Importantly, a dynamic and adaptive economy is an inescapable requirement to be strong. Patch-like solutions are no longer enough. Instead, a comprehensive vision must be made into a concrete plan.

The concept of ‘change’ must be polished in specialized workshops so that it interests the society which is concerned with its success. A vision must encompass plans, programs, stages, assessment, and accountability.

But before all that, the page of despair, frustration, fear, and hesitation must be once-and-for-all turned for hope to prevail.

Restoring hope is not an easy task—it requires a man with uncontended knowledge of the ins and outs of his people, the challenges facing society, and national demands. In other words, the task demands a good listener who could spot the faintest cries and hidden ambitions of the people.

A man who can appeal to the voice of consciousness and the dreams of his people. A man who is forthcoming, does not shy away from confrontation, and has a knack to persuade and harness potentials.

He should rise to the occasion, and undertake the protection of core principles and the course of change. More so, bringing back hope needs a man who takes a decision and is able to materialize it. In short, a man of his word.

The challenge also needs a man who knows the world and the forces driving it. He must also realize how heavy the economy weighs in today’s world.

Understanding the decisive role technology plays in future industries, and the importance of partnerships and investments are also a condition to thriving.

This guardian of hope must also promote confidence both at home and abroad, bringing average citizens to realizing their full potential, supporting decision makers in big countries and aiding visionaries inside giant companies.

All of the abovementioned specifications were met in one man who enjoyed undisputed legitimacy.

Attesting to his qualification for guarding the process of change is years spent within the walls of the royal house. His record is filled with stances reserving to fundamental principles and values.

Unlike many others, his legitimacy goes undoubted by the intense attentiveness he afforded his people and sleepless nights he spent making sure that the Kingdom’s best interest is put first.

Further bolstering his position is the unparalleled popularity and charisma he enjoys with a young generation sharing him his dreams and aspirations.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has managed to move the debate to the future. The Kingdom’s plan for transformation, “Vision 2030,” has become the day-to-day topic of discussion for Saudis.

What is remarkable is that those hopes are followed and reflected by real-time figures. Confidence is placed in the ability of Saudi youth to bring about a much-needed renaissance and to move into the heart of modern-day institutions.

There is a clear-cut attention being directed towards development, knowledge, and progress— of which are vital to divert the people’s attention away from the devious lure of extremism that molds future terrorists.

Open-mindedness has taken the center of attention, and the scenario of head-on impact with the world has been put to rest.

Saudi Arabia today is emerging as a confident country advancing its interests and using the language of terms of progress with the world. The kingdom now endeavors on fostering positive partnerships founded on knowledge and expertise manifesting as self-sustaining wealth which breaks the country from oil dependence.

Journalists who toured world capitals over the last two years have seen a change in the relations countries shared with Saudi Arabia. Talk of “Vision 2030” is being heard in meetings across the world, such as Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow and elsewhere.

Holding negotiations with these countries is a matter of precision and political tact which the Saudi partaker practices through grasping what his country desires and what it is able to bring to the table.

Saudi Arabia had to launch this major workshop amid a volatile region in which it is considered a prime target for being a safety valve for Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries.

It was inevitable for Saudi Arabia to recognize the importance of modernizing its economy in order to bolster its immunity and develop its diplomatic, military and security strengths. Here comes in Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a major role in overcoming challenges, efficiently investing capacities, forging alliances and promoting the policy of building bridges.

As Saudis pledge their allegiance to the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a new era of seizing opportunities and strengthening bridges is dawning. The people’s confidence will aid in the decision-making process, fostering stability and carving the path to prosperity.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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