The British Council, in partnership with Civil Society organisations, has recently organised a Leadership Symposium under its 'Leadership for Advancing Development in Bangladesh (LEAD Bangladesh)' project on December 15, 2022, from 10:00 am-11:30 am at British Council, Dhaka University campus office, 5 Fuller Road, Dhaka.
LEAD Bangladesh aims to empower young people in Bangladesh as leaders in their communities to identify innovative, sustainable solutions to local and global challenges. The project is being implemented in Bangladesh in Dhaka, Chattogram, Chuadanga, Khulna, Rajshahi, and Sylhet in partnership with the Centre for Communication and Development, Institute of Development Affairs (IDEA), Shushilan, The Hunger Project, WAVE Foundation, and Young Power in Social Action. Common Purpose is our UK-based partner in this project to implement the diaspora leadership component.
The LEAD Bangladesh project focuses on increasing youth engagement, voice, agency, and participation in policy development in Bangladesh and developing future change-makers with a global perspective. The LEAD Bangladesh project has developed the knowledge and skills of 3000 young people directly and more than 1400 like-minded youth indirectly to affect change in their communities through 240 Social Action Projects (SAPs) in three critical areas of Bangladesh's development linked to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) entrepreneurship, Climate Change and Civic engagement and democratic inclusion. 40 Experienced professionals and leaders from the Bangladeshi diaspora community in the UK have volunteered their time to this programme.
Azharul Islam Khan, Director General (Grade-1), Office of the Director General, Department of Youth Development, inaugurated the symposium as chief guest. David Knox, Director Programmes Bangladesh, British Council, was also present at the event.
In the symposium, two-panel discussions were organised involving key sector specialists. The first panel discussion focused on the "Role of youth in achieving Sustainable Development Goals," and the second discussion focused on "How diaspora leaders can contribute to developing the skills of the youth of Bangladesh." While the first panel discussion was moderated by Minhaz Anwar, Chief Storyteller, BetterStories Ltd., the second panel was moderated by Reem Assil, Development Director – EMESA, Common Purpose.
The Leadership Symposium provided youth participants with a platform to showcase the impact of their work. The event brought together representatives from the government, sector experts, development partners, academia, social activists, researchers, and enthusiasts. Young people engaged with policymakers and civil society members on crucial thematic issues through this leadership symposium.
Moreover, the symposium also encouraged the youth participants to continue their good work in the community through an award-giving ceremony to the high achieving Social Action Projects, which was showcased at the event. A cultural event was also organised after the award ceremony.