On August 18th, 2015 the International Young Leaders Assembly was held at the United Nations. The focus of the conversation was on empowering and inspiring young leaders in their respective fields, to impact local communities and embrace the value of being an ethical leader driven by a strong moral compass and innovation.
The common themes that resonated amongst all the speakers were-
- A focus on the youth as agents of change
- The need to develop moral values that serve as the ethical framework for sustainable decision making
- A call to organizations to invest in ‘youth leadership capacity building’
- Promoting inclusion, accountability and viewing these concepts from social justice framework
- Encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation at all levels amongst youth
- Encouraging young leaders to forge connections
This conversation was pertinent because it comes at a point when the population of young people (between the ages of 10 and 24) has reached 1.8 billion as of 2014 and is the fastest growing age demographic. The majority of young people live in developing countries and the immediate issues assailing them are fundamental, such as – education, employment, hunger, health and drug abuse. Young leaders as change makers bring a resilient, dynamic and innovative perspective on how to handle deep rooted traditional problems – empowering not only themselves but their peers and local communities to address challenges head on.
The dialogue with IYLA and the UN is a step towards developing an increased awareness on the issues that assail this age bracket; there is an urgent need for governments, international agencies, corporations and other civic bodies to collaborate towards the development of effective policies, programs and commensurate implementation strategies that can provide the impetus that youth development and leadership needs.