by Patreece Spence, for the Global Peace Foundation
The 2015 International Young Leaders Assembly (IYLA) convened an all-day program at the World Bank in Washington, DC on August 12, 2015—the UN-designated International Day of Youth—with Global forums on Youth Service, Youth Leadership, and Youth Entrepreneurship, and briefings by World Bank development experts.
Some 150 graduate students and young professionals from 64 countries participated in the forums and briefings.
The World Bank provides loans to developing countries for capital programs with a goal to eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. By 2030, the World Bank has a target of decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 per day to no more than 3 percent and promoting shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent of every country.
World Bank officials, corporate leaders, and development experts said these ambitious goals can be achieved only with the collaboration of many stakeholders, including NGOs and larger institutions.
During the opening session, Secretary of World Bank Group Youth2Youth Jemi Laclé described the World Bank’s efforts to engage, empower and inspire young people as part of the institution’s mission to develop sustainable solutions to poverty.
Fernando Filartiga, an advisor for the Offices of the Executive Director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay at the World Bank, said that the best leaders inspire others to set common goals and help them to reach those goals. Leadership is about how participants can best advance a shared goal, he said. “Here, leadership becomes a group attitude, a way of thinking, where members can collaborate and create a common vision to work towards.”
The opening session also included a video message Ambassador Ahmed Alhendawi, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Youth.
During the forum on youth service, Nepal environmentalist Shrijana Sitikhu acted upon instinct when her country needed her most. After the April 2015 earthquake struck central Nepal, neighborhoods were completely damaged and families displaced from their homes. Shrijana stepped up to the challenge with a spirited commitment through Rise Nepal, a youth mobilization campaign that directly helped Nepali victims.
She said volunteers delivered essentials such as shelters, solar lamps and soap to those in need. Shrijana also takes part in the Bagmati River Peace Initiative, revealing her environmental passion and dedication to conservation. A participant of the IYLA in 2015, this young leader exemplifies service in the face of adversity, working as an innovative and moral leader to help her community and country.
IBM Vice President Diane Melley told the forum that “it’s very powerful how small the world is when tragedy strikes.” Just 72 hours after the earthquake hit, she said, seven IBM members flew into Nepal, constructing data models and simulations to assist in the rebuilding process.
Petar Stoykov, a junior professional associate at the World Bank, addressed the forum on youth entrepreneurship and encouraged participants “not to settle” when opportunity for something greater exists. With support from the World Bank, Stoykov and his colleague were able to create opportunities by launching a youth program in Bulgaria. With technological capabilities and the connectivity of globalization, he said, much can be achieved across borders. “Identify what you are passionate about and do something about it.”
None of the leaders talked about working alone; they all collaborated with other people and organizations to achieve results. In order to achieve anything, it is essential to recognize one another as being part of one human family. “We have to find common ground through our differences,” said Elias Alcantara, associate director of intergovernmental affairs with the White House.
The 2015 Intrnational Young Leaders Assembly, “Moral and Innovative leadership: Vision, Service, Entrepreneurship,” from August 10-19, 2015, included programs on Capitol Hill in Washington, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the United Nations Neadquarters in New York City.
The IYLA is co-convened by the Global Young Leaders Academy and the Global Peace Foundation.
Photo credits: Mohamed Siddig and Victory Vision Photography