Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) commenced its four-day-long Youth Leadership Summit 2021 on August 4. 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 of 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. In his remarks as the chief guest of the opening ceremony, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, MP, Foreign Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “Without cultivating the virtues of diversity and inclusiveness, sustainable peace cannot be pursued by any country or organization. It’s important to embrace diversity and inclusiveness to have a functional democratic process.”
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 being ‘Journey towards an inclusive Bangladesh’, the sessions will focus on listening to the concerns of marginalized youth, including young people with disabilities, youth from Dalit, madrassa, and 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, exercising equal rights, access to better health, livelihood, education, and skills development within the society. “Through this summit, we hope to mobilize 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.
Other speakers at the opening day of the summit included 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, among others.