By Naomi Yakawich
Over 150 young people representing eleven countries engaged in the 2017 Global Peace Youth Exchange (GPYE) in Nepal from April 19-28. Eighteen international delegates participated in the full nine-day program, which included leadership development workshops, an immersing service project with locals affected in 2015 by the devastating earthquake, and a four-day outdoor adventure challenge cultivating self-reflection and teambuilding as essential components of moral and innovative leadership.
GPYE is a signature program of Global Peace Youth, the youth arm of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) that serves young leaders with a platform to develop leadership competencies such as social skills and confidence, multi-national networks and provide a platform for international young leaders to explore innovative methods to approach the UN-established Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The transformative program proved to inspire many participants who expressed that the workshop broadened their perception of leadership and interconnectedness of their global community. Yussef, a Filipino delegate, shared, “Traveling with people from across the nations and sharing stories about each other’s lives has made me realize how amazingly connected we all are. This program gave me inner strength to face the obstacles in my life.”
“If you live for the greater good, you will be a good leader. Anyone can be a leader in creating a better world.”
Asia Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) partnered with Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nepal to conduct a Global Peace Leadership workshop and forum on April 20 under the theme, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: New Models for Peace and Development.”
The interactive workshop involved over 100 students to tap into quintessential frameworks for global leadership through hands on activities that unleashed participants’ individual strengths, sense of purpose and empathy. This approach to youth development not only builds social skills and confidence, but supports young leaders in exploring new creative methods to address the SDGs. Dr. Su Thye Teh, a facilitator and representative from GPF Malaysia, described workshop activities as a means to unleash their inner strengths for the greater good of society. “If you live for the greater good, you will be a good leader,” said Dr. Teh. “Anyone can be a leader in creating a better world.”
A keynote speaker at the forum was the honorable Dr. Sunil Babu Shrestha, a member of the National Planning Commission for the government of Nepal, who spoke on the importance of collaboration among government agencies, private sectors, youth and women groups, civil societies, development partners and academic institutions as essential in accomplishing the SDGs.
Secretary for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Mahesh Prasad Dahal, articulated his confidence in the forum as “a turning point to device a model to actively mobilize youth for the implementation of SDGs in line with the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development.” Mr. Dahal stated, “I am hopeful that at the end of the forum, participants will have better insights on youth related issues, gaps and challenges in meeting the six major SDGs goals namely: Quality education, Water and sanitation, Gender equality, Peace, justice and strong institution, Climate change and Global partnership.”
Tahani, a delegate from Pakistan, shared her transformative experience stating, “I never thought of being a leader before but this program has changed my perspective of leadership. I have full confidence that I will work in my place to serve society better.”
Following the leadership workshop and forum, delegates concluded their GPYE experience with an opportunity for teambuilding rafting, an outdoor adventure challenge hike and interaction with a community hard-hit by the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The majestic nature of Nepal provided the participating leaders with unforgettable self-realization exercises to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses as they journeyed to the summit.