Ms. Shellecia Brooks, the Commonwealth Youth Representative for Anguilla, recently attended The Commonwealth Youth Leaders’ Conference in Chandigarh, India from December 13th to 17th, 2010.
The Conference which was held under the theme ‘Our Year, Our Voice’ was attended by youth representatives from a number of Commonwealth countries spanning the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Pacific regions. These young people came together with the aim of making their voices heard on the world stage.
The objectives of the Conference were;
• To achieve a consensus on a framework for Commonwealth Youth Representation
• To contribute to the ongoing discussion on the future of the Commonwealth through consultations with the Eminent Persons group
• To contribute to policy discussions on the Commonwealth Youth Forum 8
• Share experiences of youth leadership and advocacy
• To democratically elect and install the new Commonwealth Youth Leaders Executive
The above objectives were met and the leadership of the Pan-Commonwealth which rotates every four years is currently being held by the Pacific region.
On November 29, 2009, Commonwealth Heads of Government committed to youth of the Commonwealth through a standalone Declaration, on Investing in young people. Heads recognized that the future success of the Commonwealth rested with the continued commitments and contributions to our young people.
During her keynote address at the Opening Ceremony, Deputy Secretary General for the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, who oversees Youth Affairs, highlighted the importance of young people’s contribution to peace-building and the value of having youth voices on platforms where decisions are made about democracy and development. She stated ‘We don’t want to give credence to the saying ‘Youth must be seen and not heard.’
Ms. Brooks who was unable to participate in the 4th Annual National Conference on Youth and Development due to her travels to India, would like to commend the Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Departments and other officials for supporting this youth initiative. She also extends congratulations to all youth who participated and made the conference a success. The Conference is however, only one step to ensure genuine youth participation in all aspects of Anguilla’s development.
The National Youth Council and Ambassador Corps would like to remind everyone that this year is the International Year of Youth (IYY). IYY commenced August 12th 2010 and will end on August 12, 2011. The theme for IYY is Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. Young people are a precious resource and it is time to invest in this resource. Young people, as the message for the IYY states ‘let us raise our voices and make a positive difference in our nation and in our world.’
The National Youth Council and the Ambassador Corps look forward to working closely with the Government of Anguilla to ensure that youth are placed on platforms where they can effectively contribute to decisions which affect Anguilla’s development and contribute to Anguilla’s sustainable future.
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