Over the past several years, the social consciousness, civic engagement, and entrepreneurial spirit of young people have increased dramatically as Millennials and Gen Z take over and lead many cause movements around the world – from gender equality to climate change.
Inevitably, we are seeing a greater number of programs and initiatives designed to help develop youth’s capacity to take on these challenges and direct their energy and passion towards solutions to global problems.
At the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, we are proud to have engaged over 20,000 youth from 160 countries around the world through our flagship Youth Assembly since 2004. Through this platform, we have learned first-hand the kind of opportunities that young people seek to help them succeed in their endeavors.
If you’re seeking ways to improve yourself as a young leader, read along as we walk you through different opportunities offered by our newly-launched Global Development Leadership Series (GDL Series):
Connect with experts
There is nothing more valuable than building key relationships that could be instrumental to your growth as a young leader. Finding these connections may be tough at first, but once you find yourself meeting the right people at the right time, initiating a conversation can be a transformative opportunity.
“You may not realize it, but at the Youth Assembly, you are one handshake, one conversation, one business card away from living the life you have envisioned for yourself and the people around you.” – Rebakaone Bowe
Our delegates have benefited from participating in our GDL Series, where they can engage with high-level staff from world-changing organizations and get a glimpse of their daily work. This coming February, our GDL Series takes our delegates through multilateral institutions from the iconic meeting chambers of the United Nations to the halls of UN Permanent Missions, where vital world decisions have taken place. Previous visits have brought our delegates to the World Bank, UNA-USA, US Institute for Peace, International Finance Corporation, and many others.
Exchange with your peers
By simply engaging in a conversation with someone who may be coming from a different background or experience, you can gain more perspective and understanding on issues that you care about. Sharing knowledge and skills or even collaborating with your fellow young leaders can be an inspiring and meaningful exercise to help you achieve your goals.
“As a delegate, I was honored to experience the power of meeting other dynamic young leaders where I could share my potential projects and learn theirs. It is a unique feeling to meet people from around the world who have a vision and an unquenchable desire for change! What an experience indeed!” – Edward Kuisseu Tatchim
As part of the GDL Series, our delegates partake in hands-on discussions and activities in small groups, which allows for more in-depth interaction and learning. One of the highlights of the GDL Series last August was a UN Security Council simulation run and informed by Council on Foreign Relations where delegates got the chance to debate on topics concerning international affairs, global economy, and human development. Through these settings, the delegates have discovered the advantage of learning with and from their peers.
Build your network
With each interaction that you make comes the added challenge of retaining these connections to build your network. While it’s easier nowadays to make contacts online, having face-to-face conversations can make a huge difference in maintaining those connections.
At the Youth Assembly, we do our best to facilitate network-building through the Opportunities Fair, where delegates can engage with representatives of impactful civic organizations, universities, corporations, and agencies. Delegates can learn more about volunteer programs, internships, projects, campaigns, and other opportunities offered by our partners during the conference. Previous exhibitors included Idealist, Council on Foreign Relations, Schwarzman Scholars, Terracycle, SDSN Youth, UNICEF USA, UNFPA, HeForShe, New York University, Fordham University, and many more.
“It was an unforgettable experience to see people from various cultures and backgrounds working together toward a common goal. I feel like we have created a network that can impact the world.” – Thayssa Machado
Form real friendships for change
At the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, we believe in the power of friendship in transforming our communities into a more peaceful and sustainable society. This is why promoting friendship is at the core of everything we do as we bring people together in various ways.
When young leaders relate at this level, their bond and ability to collaborate with one another become stronger, which helps drive their purpose and their mission.
“I think the best thing I got from this experience was family. Family from each and every corner of the world.” – Vaania Kapoor
As part of the GDL Series, delegates celebrate their newfound connections through unique social and cultural events, which included talent showcases, dinner cruises, and gala events. Through these activities beyond the conference, delegates make global friendships that last a lifetime.
Immerse yourself in a new environment
Apart from making great connections, our delegates travel from around the world with the goal of experiencing different cultures outside of their home country. Exposing yourself to a new environment opens up a world of possibilities to gain new skills and overcome barriers to your personal and professional growth. The GDL Series is designed to offer just that – a transformative experience ideal to globetrotters and young leaders who are seeking to broaden their horizons.
“The Youth Assembly was the right kick I needed to get out of my comfort zone and effect global change. And that’s what it did!” – Thandokuhle Mandla Kasibante David
It’s becoming increasingly important to develop programs that equip young people with the critical skills needed in a globalizing world. The GDL Series is unique in its approach to prepare our delegates to become well-connected, socially aware, and globally competent leaders.
As a complement to the Youth Assembly, the GDL Series offers a comprehensive program combining organizational visits, in-depth discussions, and group activities specially designed for a tightly-knit cohort of young leaders from around the world. From connecting with experts to forming global friendships, the GDL Series gives young leaders not only a platform for self-improvement but a door to a life-changing experience.