Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) commenced its four-day-long Youth Leadership Summit 2021 on Wednesday.
The summit aims to facilitate an intergenerational dialogue on issues and challenges that limit youth’s inclusive participation in public, private, and civil sectors.
Speakers, on the opening day of the summit, stressed that youth’s active engagement is imperative to ensure an inclusive society. They also explained why embracing diversity matters in the practice of leadership.
Dr A K Abdul Momen, MP, Foreign Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his remarks, as the chief guest of the opening ceremony, said, “Without cultivating the virtues of diversity and inclusiveness, sustainable peace cannot be pursued by any country or organisation. It’s important to embrace diversity and inclusiveness to have a functional democratic process.”
“The very presence of diversity around a table means that we will challenge each other’s assumptions and by doing that, we will be able to better understand each other,” said Dr Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and International Advisory Board Member, BYLC.
The virtual summit, supported by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and the Foreign,Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK, brought together over 300 delegates from 149 educational institutions across 45 districts.
With the theme of this year’s summit- ‘Journey towards an inclusive Bangladesh,’ the sessions will focus on listening to the concerns of marginalised youth, including young people with disabilities, youth from Dalit, madrassa, low-income backgrounds, and transgender youth.
The ultimate goal of the summit is to guide delegates to work together to craft solutions that can help achieve inclusivity in terms of opportunities to work, exercise equal rights, access to better health, livelihood, education, and skills development within the society.
“Through this summit, we hope to mobilise youth to take a step forward in building a country that has space for all its citizens, not just the privileged few,” said Ejaj Ahmad, Founder and President of BYLC.
Alexandra Berg von Linde, Swedish Ambassador to Dhaka; Milan Pavlovic, Acting Mission Director and Resident Legal Officer, USAID Bangladesh; and K M Tariqul Islam, Director General of the NGO Affairs Bureau also spoke, among others, at the opening day of the summit.