Youth are the future leaders of nations, the frontrunners of every battle and the torchbearers in the darkness of crisis. Encouraging and empowering youth is the best move for any nation’s development, and being Bangladesh’s leading organization dedicated to conduct skills and leadership development for youth, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) arranged a two-day long Youth Carnival for the first time on December 27-28.
Arranged at the Government College of Physical Education in Mohammadpur in the capital, the carnival was attended by five thousands of engaging youth, despite the bone-chilling weather. A number of interesting and informative plenaries, workshops, motivational chat sessions and enthralling concerts kept the crowd enchanted throughout the carnival, which was initiated marking the organisation’s 10th anniversary celebration that brought together young people with reputed speakers and industry experts on one platform.
The event, which was arranged in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, NGO Affairs Bureau, Manusher Jonno Foundation and UK Aid, was officially inaugurated on Friday morning by Md Akhter Hossain, secretary of the Youth and Sports Ministry as the chief guest. Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangladesh, Akhter Matin Chaudhury, chairperson of the governing board of BYLC and former managing director of Nuvista Phama Ltd and Md Shahadat Hossain, Director, NGO Affairs Bureau also attended the ceremony as the special guests.
Sister concern of Dhaka Courier and the first fully digitized wire service in South Asia, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) has been the online media partner of this jovial celebration of youth.
With having two-day long festivities to inspire the torchbearers, representing the young generation- the carnival’s concluding ceremony was joined by State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel as the chief guest, with other special guests including President of Bangladesh Scouts and Former Principal Coordinator (SDG) to Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad, DFID Bangladesh country head Judith Herbertson, BYLC Founder and President Ejaj Ahmed and Manusher Jonno Foundation’s Ex-Officio Member of Governing Board Shaheen Aman.
The carnival had daylong exhibitions of cartoons and photographs along with 50 participating stalls, showcasing products and services made from the brilliance of the youths in the country and Interactive problem-solving session by Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad Committee (BdMOC) and documentary film screenings. What else were offered? Well, the answer of the question is- a lot!
Day one’s first plenary session, titled ‘stories of hope and action’ took place with renowned youth icons such as Wedding Diary’s CEO Prito Reza, Youth Opportunities Co-Founder Osama Bin Noor, BD Assistant’s Co-founder and CMO Umma Kulsum Popi, YY Ventures Limited and YY Goshthi Founder and Managing Director Shazeeb M Khairul Islam. The second plenary, titled ‘steering youth away from crime and anti-social activities’ was then joined by former chief of Bangladesh Police AKM Shahidul Islam and BYLC’s Manager of Leadership Development and Teaching Almeer Ahsan Asif.
Day two’s first plenary, titled ‘Preparing for the future: the must have skills for 21st century workplace’ was joined by Chairperson of the Governing Board, BYLC and Former Managing Director of Nuvista Pharma Ltd Akhter Matin Chaudhury, Country Director and CEO of Kazi IT Center Ltd Zara Mahbub, CEO and Co-founder of Bdjobs.com Fahim Mashroor, Former Head of Programme at BRAC Skills Development Programme Farzana Kashfi and Access to Information (a2i) programme’s Policy Specialist (Educational Innovation) Md Afzal Hossain Sarwar. The second plenary of the day, titled ‘Bangabandhu’s leadership: lessons for today’s youth’ was joined by Shah Ali Farhad, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh; Tarana Halim, Former State Minister of Information and Mohammad Ali Arafat, Chairperson of Shuchinta Foundation.
Cognitive concurrent panels
Day one’s first concurrent panel ‘Standing up for what is right: fighting violence against women and children’ was joined by Save the Children’s Director Abdulla Al Mamun, former Executive Director of Acid Survivors Foundation and Ashoka Fellow Monira Rahman, Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)’s Executive Director Sheepa Hafiza and The Hunger Project’s Deputy Director and National Girl Child Advocacy Forum’s General Secretary Nasima Akhter Joly, as speakers.
Second concurrent panel of day one, titled ‘Ensuring health and well-being in a hyper connected world’ was joined by Sajida Foundation’s Executive Director and Psychological Health and Wellness Clinic (PHWC) Chairman Zahida Fizza Kabir, National Institute of Mental Health, Dhaka’s Associate Professor Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed, Dhaka University’s Department of Clinical Psychology’s Associate Professor and Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society’s President Kamal Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury and Sumaia Azmi, Founder and Counselor Psychologist at Nirvana, as the panel speakers.
The last concurrent panel, titled ‘Active citizenship: the power of leading without a title’ was joined by the panel speakers Institute of Informatics and Development (IID)’s Founder and CEO Syeed Ahamed, Jaago Foundation’s Founder and Executive Director Korvi Rakshand, Brotee’s Chief Executive Officer Sharmeen Murshid and Founder at Green Savers and Ashoka Fellow, Ahsan Rony.
Day two had two concurrent panels. The first one being ‘Embracing diversity to build cohesive communities’ by Md Rezwanul Karim, Programme Coordinator of Manusher Jonno Foundation; Philip Gain, Ashoka Fellow and Founder and Director of the Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD); Captain of Bangladesh National Wheelchair Cricket Team Mohammad Mohsin, Tashnuva Shishir, Project Officer of Bandhu Social Welfare Society and Rajesh Bashfor, Convenor of Bangladesh Harijan Youth Unity Council.
Concurrent panel two, titled ‘Making gender equality a reality’ by Banasree Mitra Neogi, Gender Advisor of Manusher Jonno Foundation; Farin Daulah, Founder and President of One Circle Welfare Organisation and Adjunct Faculty of North South University; Zakir Hossain, Chief Executive of Nagorik Uddyog (The Citizens Initiative) and Zaiba Tahiya, Founder and CEO of Female Empowerment Movement and Winner of Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2017.
Along with the plenaries and panels, the carnival’s second day featured four exciting workshops to get the youth ready for the shining future. The first workshop, titled ‘Tools and techniques for effective leadership’ was conducted by Almeer Ahsan Asif, Manager, Leadership Development and Teaching, BYLC. The second workshop, titled ‘Acing the recruitment process and getting the first job’ was conducted by Pial Islam, Board Member of BYLC and Managing Partner of pi Strategy and Farah,Chowdhury, Manager, Office of Professional Development, BYLC.
The third workshop titled “Do’s and don’ts of raising money: advice from investors” was conducted by Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish, Co-founder and Managing Director of LightCastle Partners- and the last workshop, ‘Communication masterclass’ was conducted by the hearthrob educationist and youth icon Ayman Sadiq, Founder and CEO of 10 Minute School.
The carnival featured two exclusive, enthralling chat sessions with two iconic personalities of the nation. Day one’s session titled ‘Aiming for the stars: Fireside chat with Sonia Bashir Kabir’ was joined by the Founder and Chairman of SBK Tech Ventures and SBK Foundation and former Managing Director of Microsoft Bangladesh, Sonia Bashir Kabir- who shared her journey of success being an inspiring and successful woman in the country. The second day’s session, titled ‘Aiming for the stars: Fireside chat with Ilias Kanchan’ by Film actor, Founder and Chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai movement Ilias Kanchan who shared his story of being a motivator for road safety in the country.
The opening day of the first-ever youth carnival saw a huge turnout with the performances of popular singer Arnob, along with his musical troupe ‘Arnob & Friends’, Elita Karim and youth band Chitropot, mesmerizing the participants with tremendous performances. Day two’s concluding ceremony also rocked the youth, when band Revolutus, AvoidRafa and the most awaiting performance of Artcell electrified the audience.
With the hope to comeback even on a bigger margin next time, the carnival bided cheerful adieu to the participants.