The attention of the global community will be fixed on Liberia this week as over 200 youth leaders from across the world have convened here to discuss topics such as education, youth participation, engagement and empowerment and craft solutions on how young people can be transformed from being victims of societal cruelties to stakeholders in their own affairs who can chart the course of their destiny.
The over 200 delegates are from 22 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. They will participate in the Annual Youth Education and Empowerment Summit (AYEESummit) 2017, which will take place at a resort in Margibi County from September 4-6.
The AYEESummit is an initiative of Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL) that is co-organized by Volunteers Hub Liberia and Youth Crime Watch Liberia in collaboration with Plan International (PI). The summit serves as the premier gathering of young people in Liberia, bringing hundreds of youth leaders, edu-preneurs (or education entrepreneurs), entrepreneurs and innovators from across Africa and the rest of the world.
The summit will run from September 4-6 under the theme, “Strengthening Collaboration among Youth and Women for Peace Building and Inclusiveness of Electoral Processes.”
YOCEL founder and executive director Beyan Flomo Pewee said that at the end of the summit, delegates are expected to develop a joint resolution that can be used to advocate or engage stakeholders on issues relative to the theme of the summit. “This year’s event will connect the theme to quality education, participation, engagement and empowerment. The summit seeks to contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals 4, 10 and 17, addressing quality education, reducing inequalities and increasing partnerships for the goals,” Pewee said.
At the summit, the youth leaders are also expected to share values and engage policymakers and stakeholders towards developing solutions to address some of the challenges that the young people of Africa face in acquiring quality education and pursuing professional development, said Pewee.
He said that as a result of the successful hosting of the 2016 edition of the summit, which was the first of its kind in the country, “we are proud to announce a new partnership with the Government of Rwanda through the Rwandan Convention Bureau. This new partnership has paved the way for the hosting of AYEESummit 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.” For this second edition, Pewee said that the organizers received over 5,000 applicants, “but due to our limited resources, only a little over 200 were successful.”
Mr. Pewee started the AYEESummit in 2016 as a follow-up project to the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Center in Accra, Ghana as a platform where young leaders can connect and exchange ideas. The summit is now an international youth based gathering focused on education, participation, engagement and empowerment that is endorsed by the Liberian government through the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Youth and Sports and Education.
The 2017 summit is supported through the election project by the United Nation Development Program, European Union and the governments of Sweden, Canada and Ireland. “Most importantly, we are also collaborating with the NEC to strengthen the electoral system with a fund of US$16 million,” Pewee told reporters.