Wednesday, 20 November 2013

COMMONWEALTH YOUTH FORUM, HAMBANTOTA, SRI LANKA

10th - 14th November 2013 : A report from Anwesha Ghosh (Gold Award Holder), IAF representative


The Commonwealth Youth Forum was organized as a start-up event for CHOGM (Commonwealth Head of the Government Meeting.) The forum took place in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Hambantota is a beautiful upcoming city in the southern-most tip of Sri Lanka. The conference saw participation from many of the commonwealth countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, United Kingdom, Australia to name a few. The aim of the conference was to install a commonwealth executive council and to adopt a constitution to be followed by the council.

The conference was attended by 50 young people from all over the world. It saw a perfect mix of nations, cultures and ideas. It was a four-day conference - from 10th Nov, 2013 to 14th Nov, 2013. During these four days, we all sat together and discussed our views on several aspects that concern the youth and the world at large.

The sessions included topics such as entrepreneurship, quality employment, sex and reproductive health, drug addiction among others. We exchanged ideas on the topics and learnt about the problems faced by young people in different countries. We then came up with practical solutions to these problems.

These solutions were drafted in the form of policies, which were passed by the delegation; these have been adopted as a policy that should be followed. We hope these policies will benefit the youth from all across the world.

Next came the elections. This conference saw the formal election and installation of the Commonwealth Youth Council. Ahmed Amudu from Nigeria was elected as the Chair of the commonwealth executive council. Others were elected for the post of regional representatives and vice-chairman.

The commonwealth countries combined have a youth population of around 1.2 billion people. We all come from different cultures. But oddly enough, most of us face similar problems in life. By putting together our ideas and understanding, we managed to come up with solutions. It wasn't easy. Some days we worked up to 2 am in the morning. But the time didn't concern us. We were burdened with a huge responsibility. We were the voice of the 1.2 billion young people who deserve to be heard.

The conference was not only work but fun too. We had a gala opening event. We were welcomed in a very warm and grand manner. The young people from Sri Lanka gave us a taste of their very rich and diverse culture. Over the following days, we enjoyed beach parties, casual chats, African music and dance, cultural nights, tree planting ceremonies, Sanctuary and National Park visits. We also enjoyed meeting with several dignitaries including the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Sri Rajapaksha. Also we enjoyed the company of the Youth Minister of Sri Lanka. We met other dignitaries like the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of PNG, Ghana and other countries.

It was a great experience. I made several new friends from all over the world. I learnt a great deal in the conference. The experience was both professionally and personally enriching. I would like to thank the International Award Authorities for giving me the excellent opportunity to represent the Award in the Commonwealth Youth Conference.  click for pictures

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