3rd International Child Mental and Behavioral Health Conference

Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan's Speech

Welcome to Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. I am pleased that you have assembled in our capital city for the Third International Child Mental and Behavioral Health Conference 2015. My special welcome goes to you who are visiting our country from abroad.

Distinguished International Faculty, Participating Psychiatrists, Physicians, Psychologists, Nurses, Social Workers, Health Care Professionals, and Academics, Ladies and Gentlemen:

You are already immersed in the formidable agenda of this Third InternationalChild Mental and Behavioral Health Conference, and I welcome you as problem-solvers in these fields so important to our global society.  We know that understanding the human mind and its aberrations is one of the greatest challenges confronting us today. In your conference you will clearly profit from the knowledge presented in the rich program assembled by Doctors Almai الألمعي and Karrani and their organizing committee.

I am delighted that you have come to Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.  I especially welcome those of you who are visiting our capital city from abroad for this important event. I do hope that while here you will find some time to explore the many rich cultural and architectural features of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

As a layman, I cannot contribute professionally to your informed discussion of ADHD, eating disorders, autism, psychotic disorders, depression, and the many other critical topics that affect children and youth. I can, however, speak for laymen in expressing admiration and gratitude for your dedication, compassion, and competence. Your research and clinical practice are vital to the well-being of our global society.

As laymen might infer from the theme of the conference, healthy children are a prerequisite for healthy families, which in turn, are essential for healthy societies and, consequently, to a stable and peaceful world.  As an ancient proverb states, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Development of healthy children begins with the parents and family who are role models for children, while later, peer influence becomes quite important. But, as you know far better than I, healthy children are a composite of both physical and mental health and it is often the latter where parents and peers are not prepared to deal with those who vitally need assistance. Your work and this conference focuses on the critical issues of mental and behavioral health in children so important to all societies.

As parents, we strive to raise healthy children.  As a society, we must promote attitudes and actions that encourage healthy families and healthy children. That societal responsibility belongs to government, corporations, social and religious organizations, educational and medical institutions, and other forces influential in society. The three organizations that have collaborated in creating this conference are fulfilling that responsibility. The Emirates Medical Association, the Emirates Psychiatric Society, and the Gulf Child Mental and Behavioral Health Society solidly promote attitudes and actions that encourage healthy families and healthy children.

Likewise, the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Community Development recognizes that healthy people make healthy communities and through them grows a healthy and prosperous society. While the Ministry does not have specific responsibilities for mental health, we do have the strong belief that “strong bodies and strong minds” are essential to strong, healthy children and youth. We want to involve all boys and girls in sporting and fitness activities as a strategy to improve the overall health of our country. That, of course, is a massive undertaking and our resolve to succeed takes its inspiration from the founder of our nation, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan, who once declared that (and I quote):

It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country.

When he spoke, Sheikh Zayed assumed correctly that our young people were already physically fit and prepared to exert themselves. That was a time before air conditioning, a surfeit of motorized vehicles, computers and fast foods. That was a time when young people were naturally physically active and physically fit. Our leaders today know that times have changed. In many ways, times are good. While we are not about to switch off the air conditioning or immobilize the vehicles, we do plan for better nutrition and increased exercise. Therefore, sports and fitness programs must become prominent among our new conditions for living.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development has a broad mandate to improve the quality of life of our people. We know that achieving this objective is complicated, but likely not as complicated as are the topics that you will be discussing over the next few days. We know that sound mental health is both difficult to assess and to achieve, and that it is a driving force in human behavior. Further, we know that events of global tragedies, both recent and past, often derive from aberrant behaviors that are not acceptable to any of us. Consequently, we are looking forward to the outcomes of your conference to help us better understand mental health and behavior in order that our world will become more peaceful, prosperous and secure.

I am grateful that you are here in Abu Dhabi to deepen your understanding, sharpen your skills and, I hope, to make new friends as well as to renew old ones.  I wish you the very best in your endeavors.

Thank you.

Welcome Note 

Dear Colleagues, 

 Again I am welcoming you, this time to the 3rd Child Mental & Behavioral Health Conference here in the beautiful Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Much like the previous conferences,the goal of this year's conference is to provide the latest updates in the treatments and management of children and families with mental and behavioral health needs. We will also continue to focus on the issue of child abuse and child protection laws. With steady, increased awareness of behavioral health issues, the demands for services in the UAE and indeed the Gulf Region are ever increasing. As providers, we need to vigilantly advocate for the mental and behavioral health care needs of this ever growing demographic. Your presence at this conference indicates your dedication to improving the lives of those challenged with mental and behavioral illnesses and I hope your experience here at the conference will not only underscore how important your contributions are, but you will leave with enhanced awareness of the latest evidence based best practices. We are privileged to have a salubrious group of experts who will, no doubt, keep you engaged and enrich your knowledge with their presentations.

 On behalf of the organizing committee, our hosts, the Gulf Child Mental & Behavioral Health Society in conjunction with the Emirates Psychiatric Society, I want to thank you for your attendance and participation and I hope you are encouraged by the progress we are making and the lives we are improving. Continued professional collaboration is the key to ongoing success in the treatment of child mental and behavioral health. .

 Of course, our event would not be complete without our guest of honor: we extend our sincere gratitude to His Excellency, Sheikh Nayan bin Mubarak Al Nayan for his patronage and continued support, highlighting the importance of this conference. 

 Once again welcome to Abu Dhabi and the 3rd Child Mental and Behavioral Health Conference. 

Best Regards, 

Dr. Ahmad Al Almai, MD 
Conference Chairman Third Child Mental & Behavioral Health Conference 
Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Sheikh Khalifa Medical City