Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre (BYLC) concluded their fourth Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) on Saturday with the theme “Connect, Collaborate, Co-create” at the International Convention City in Bashundhara, Dhaka.
The rigorous admission process competitively selected 400 students from over 2,700 applications from all over Bangladesh and 60 countries around the world.
With financial support from UK Aid, this year's summit brought together university students and young professionals from seven countries for three days of exploration, leadership training, and networking.
“The summit facilitates inter-generational dialogue which is critical in finding innovative solutions to the problems we are facing as a society today”, said Akhter Matin Chaudhury, chairperson of BYLC, at the opening ceremony of the summit on August 18.
Speaking as the chief guest, Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said: “BYLC is doing the important work of building bridges between people from different backgrounds and creating a shared vision for our future.”
Highlighting UK Aid’s commitment to youth development in Bangladesh, DFID Country Representative Jane Edmondson said: “The new Sustainable Development Goals look forward to a world where the goals have been met for everyone. It is young people who have the biggest stake in this future, and it is young leaders who will make it happen, here in Bangladesh and worldwide.
Prime Minister’s International Affairs Advisor Gowher Rizvi and State Minister for Youth and Sports Biren Sikder was also present at the opening ceremony. The keynote address was given by Sir Christopher Ball, former Warden of Keble College, Oxford University.
This year’s leadership faculty included Ejaj Ahmad, founder and president of BYLC, and Harvard professors Dr Dean Williams and Dr Hugh O’Doherty.
The leadership sessions focused on examining the opportunities and dangers of exercising leadership in an uncertain world and collectively exploring creative solutions to society’s most urgent challenges. Dean Williams spoke about how current leadership practices are insufficient to enable progress, and stressed the importance of crossing boundaries to exercise leadership in a fractured world.
Experts from different sectors participated in thematic plenaries on globalisation, education, and entrepreneurship to explore the nuances of leadership within different contexts.
Manzoor Hasan OBE, founding board member and former chairperson of BYLC, chaired the session on “Leadership in an Inter-connected World” where Marcia Bernicat, US ambassador to Bangladesh, and Abrar Anwar, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, also spoke.
Chairing the panel on the “Changing Landscape of Tertiary Education in the 21st Century”, Gowher Rizvi remarked that “Being the best in the nation is no longer enough, young people now have the challenge of being exceptional global citizens.”
Pradeep Singh, deputy dean and CEO Mohali Campus of the Indian School of Business (ISB), spoke about the new demands on modern education institutions.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Annisul Huq chaired the plenary on Inclusive Economy and Entrepreneurship. Discussants included Saima Chowdhury, board member of BYLC and CEO of Noi Solutions, David Hasanat, CEO of Viyellatex Group, and Kamran Bakr, chairman of Unilever.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque chaired a plenary on “Investing in the Next Generation” which featured prominent youth icons.