The amazing youth in the Sea of Talent competition
The competition was supported by USAID in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It aimed at bringing out the talents of Yemeni youth and encouraging them to be able to contribute in decision making and building a new Yemen.
Three hundred participants entered in the competition which is part of the Peace Generation Project that aims at improving Yemeni society.
“The love and encouragement I received from my supporters enabled me to continue. This competition aims at the unity of the Yemeni youth in order to keep them away from political conflicts,” commented Qutaiba Namoosh, a 21 year old winner in the competition. Namoosh presented poetic verses that amazed both the audience and the judges.
“I’m a Bedouin, some are from Aden, some are from Taiz, and some are from the marginalized people, but in the competition we are all Yemeni youth,” he added.
“The larger challenge for me is how to spread my talent throughout Yemen. The ‘Sea of Talent’ competition has opened the door for me,” said Nora Abdat, an 18 year old who presented a foreign song that was praised by those in attendance and the judges committee.
Musical bands participated in the competition too. The Amal Show Band who belong to a marginalized community won a prize and was especially liked by the audience and the judges committee.
Forty percent of the participants in the competition were from marginalized communities and they clearly proved that they are talented people.
The judges committee and the final decision
“The selection of the best participants was based on three measures which are talent, charisma and the reaction of the audience,” said Khaled Kahtan, the owner of an artistic and productive association and one of the judges in the competition.
“There are many talented people in Yemen but they have been ignored. All these talents are just a very small part of the buried talents of the people in Yemen,” he added.
Fuad Al-Sharjabi, the founder of the Yemeni Musical House praised the participation of females in the competition, “They represented only 20 percent of contestants but their presence was very remarkable and they showed more talent than the males.”
According to Al-Sharjabi it was a very challenging step for those girls to stand on the stage before an audience and display their talents. It required much self-confidence. She said that these talented females impressed the audience and proved that we are in an age of differences which are based only on talent, charisma and morals, and not on gender.
Amal Ismael, an actress and a member of the judges committee, said that she came to know more about the marginalized people through this competition, and what she saw was very different from the perspective seen in society.
“Those marginalized people can change the negative view society has toward them and the audience praised them for their professional talents. They proved that they are Yemeni citizens just like all the other Yemeni people, and that they have special abilities and talents.
Audience reaction towards the ‘Sea of Talent’
The public enthusiastically attended the competition and the theatre was overbooked.
“I attended with my female friends and I’m impressed by the talents of the participants. Never did I think that the Yemeni people had such talents,” said Lamia’a Al-Barq.
Further, she emphasized the importance of such competitions which teach youths how to invest their time productively instead of wasting it on chewing qat.
Maher Al-Haimi, Mohammed Al-Sagh, Murad Al-Alimi and Mohammed Al-Nahari came to back up their friend who participated in the competition.
“We came to support our friend in the singing competition. We can’t express how happy we are that he is one of the top ten participants,” they said. They also affirmed that this competition contributed to uniting the Yemeni youth. “Yemen is still OK,” they acclaimed.
Though the media in general ignored the 'Sea of Talent’ competition, it has left a good impression on the youth of Yemen, and left many thinking that effective change is possible by improving the talents of the youth.
According to one of the coordinators, the ‘Sea of Talent’ competition may be held again in different governorates like Aden and Taiz, but it needs more promotion to spread the word to all of Yemen”s talented youth.