Participants along with the guests at the concluding ceremony of fifth Youth Leadership Summit at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka on Saturday, September 29, 2018. Photo: Courtesy
Dhaka, Sep 29 (UNB) – Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) concluded its fifth Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) on Saturday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).
This year, with the theme ‘Desh Amar, Dayitto Amar,’ 400 young citizens from all over Bangladesh worked together to co-create a Youth Manifesto—a declaration of youth priorities and aspirations that will be used as an advocacy tool to drive youth development on a national level.
The main themes of the manifesto are education, social justice, unemployment, and social inclusion. Through a participatory process, the delegates came up with 40 policy recommendations which were presented to political party members ahead of the upcoming national elections.
With the aim of promoting inclusive dialogue, the Youth Leadership Summit also hosted a panel discussion on Engaging Youth in Politics and Policy featuring politicians from opposing parties.
Moderated by Dr. Mizanur Rahman, former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh, the discussion focused on the processes and skills required for youths to participate in politics in Bangladesh.
“There is a negative perception about politics among youth. But the youth also have an important responsibility to get involved in politics to make long term systematic change,” said Waseqa Ayesha Khan, MP, Vice President, Bangladesh Mohila Awami League.
Urging the delegates to take leadership roles in politics, Tabith M Awal, National Executive Committee Member, Bangladesh Nationalist Party said, “Youths are always told that they are too young to make a difference, but our politics need to be more inclusive of young people.”
Echoing the sentiment, Shama Obaed, Organizing Secretary, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, said, “We need more youths in politics to champion youth issues.”
Referring to the demands of the manifesto, Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, Member, Central International Affairs Sub Committee, Bangladesh Awami League said, “As a representative of the youth, I will present the Youth Manifesto to my party and work towards, including your demands in our party manifesto.”
Other discussants included Dr. Manisha Chakroborty, Member Secretary, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, Barisal District.
The closing keynote speech was delivered by Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star, who urged the youth to use their idealism and energy to serve the country.
The three-day Youth Leadership Summit concluded with delegates making a commitment to take responsibility for the issues that affect their communities. Over the next few months, a Youth Advisory Council will be formed to make progress on the Manifesto recommendations by engaging with different government bodies and policy makers.
The title sponsors of the Youth Leadership Summit 2018 are The British High Commission, UKAid, and The Asia Foundation. Silver sponsors are New Asia Group and Aamra. The Daily Star is a strategic partner and UNB and Nagorik TV are media partners.