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Commonwealth youth delegates elect new youth council leaders
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Commonwealth youth delegates elect new youth council leaders

Commonwealth Youth Forum delegates today elected the executive for the largest and most diverse youth body in the world, the new Commonwealth Youth Council.

Ahmed Adamu from Nigeria will chair the new body, which will be the recognised voice of the 1.2 billion young people of the Commonwealth and provide a framework for youth-led development initiatives.

Over the past two days at the Forum in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, candidates from national youth bodies across the 53 countries of the Commonwealth have been campaigning to lead the Council.

Leaders will serve a two-year term until the next Council General Assembly in Mauritius in 2015, are:

Chairperson Ahmed Adamu (Nigeria)
Vice Chairperson – Policy, Advocacy and Projects Sudharshana Lakshmi (India)
Vice Chairperson – Partnerships and Resources Sadham Zarjahan (Sri Lanka)
Vice Chairperson – Inclusion and Engagement Mohamed Husni (Sri Lanka)
Regional Representative – Africa and Europe Kiziah Philbert (Kenya)
Regional Representative – Asia Tharika Dileepani (Sri Lanka)
Regional Representative – Caribbean and the Americas Royden Beharry (Grenada)
Regional Representative – Pacific Harry James (Solomon Islands)
Representative – Special Interest Groups Wathsala Samarakoon (Sri Lanka)


The formation of the Council was endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Perth, Australia, in 2011.

This year’s Youth Forum delegates are also shaping national and Commonwealth agendas on topics of particular interest to young people under the theme ‘Inclusive Development – Stronger Together!’ Expert presentations and policy working group sessions continued today on the subthemes: gender equality, generating quality youth employment and reconciliation and social cohesion.  The sessions will inform the youth leaders’ meeting with Heads of Government later in the week.

Speaking on youth employment, Barbara Kasumu from Elevations Network said: “Vocational and technical training qualifications need to be valued at the same level as traditional academic routes.  Education alone does not guarantee employment outcomes and more must be done to ensure that work experience is fully integrated into a young person’s learning experience.”

Delegate Racheal Kalaba from Zambia, who attended the session, said: “I was very impressed with the philosophy of the young speaker Ravi Theja Muthu from India, who told us that if we can’t get out of the box that restricts our entrepreneurial endeavours, then we should destroy the box and think in new ways.”



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