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Dhaka Tribune

AL, BNP politicians pledge to stand by youth

The three-day Youth Leadership Summit concluded with delegates making a commitment to take responsibility for the issues that affect their communities

Update : 29 Sep 2018, 10:07 PM

Politicians have said the country’s youth have an important responsibility to get involved in politics to make systemic change.

They made the remarks at the fifth Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) organized by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) at the Bangabandhu International Convention Center on Saturday, according to a press release issued by BYLC.

With the theme 'Desh Amar, Dayitto Amar,' (my country, my responsibility) 400 young citizens from all over Bangladesh worked together to co-create a Youth Manifesto-a declaration of youth priorities and aspirations that will be used as an advocacy tool to drive youth development on a national level.

The main themes of the manifesto are education, social justice, unemployment, and social inclusion.

Through a participatory process, the delegates came up with 40 policy recommendations which were presented to political party members ahead of the upcoming national elections.

With the aim of promoting inclusive dialogue, the Youth Leadership Summit also hosted a panel discussion on Engaging Youth in Politics and Policy featuring politicians from opposing parties.

Referring to the demands of the manifesto, Awami League Central International Affairs Sub Committee Member, Shah Ali Farhad, said: "As a representative of the youth, I will present the Youth Manifesto to my party and work towards, including your demands in our party manifesto."

"There is a negative perception about politics among youth. But the youth also have an important responsibility to get involved in politics to make long term systematic change," said Waseqa Ayesha Khan, vice president of Mohila Awami League.

Urging the delegates to take leadership roles in politics, BNP National Executive Committee Member Tabith M Awal said: "Youths are always told that they are too young to make a difference, but our politics need to be more inclusive of young people."

Echoing the sentiment, BNP Organizing Secretary Shama Obaed said: "We need more youths in politics to champion youth issues."

Other speakers included Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal Barisal unit’s Member Secretary, Manisha Chakroborty.

The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, who delivered the closing keynote speech, urged the youth to use their idealism and energy to serve the country.

The three-day Youth Leadership Summit concluded with delegates making a commitment to take responsibility for the issues that affect their communities.

Over the next few months, a Youth Advisory Council will be formed to make progress on the Manifesto recommendations by engaging with different government bodies and policy makers.

The title sponsors of the Youth Leadership Summit 2018 are The British High Commission, UKAid, and The Asia Foundation. Silver sponsors are New Asia Group and Aamra. The Daily Star is a strategic partner and UNB and Nagorik TV are media partners.

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