When we first discussed the prospects of inviting youth delegates from South Asia to attend the Annual Meetings, I must admit that I was initially ambivalent. However, the launch of More and Better Jobs in South Asia was imminent and it found that the region needs to create over one million new jobs a month over the next two decades to sustain employment for young people. How could we write about prospects for this group without hearing from them? With that in mind, we asked what More and Better Jobs mean to them and received an overwhelming response; over 11,000 application views and hundreds of exceptional applicants.
When the six delegates arrived, I was quickly struck by the intelligence, passion, and honesty that emanated from the group. Additional to the fresh, bold, and articulate ideas on employment themes such as equity, skills, and governance in their essays; they all took initiative for the betterment of their own communities with significant dedication and sacrifices.
Have you ever had the feeling of being overwhelmed because you got more, much, much more than what you were expecting? Well, I hadn’t, till I came for the World Bank and IMF Annual meetings.
Usually, any long, monotonous sessions would lull me to sleep, but somehow, I was wide awake in every session that I attended, despite being jet-lagged and sleep-deprived! Be it the youth capacity building session with the IMF officials, or getting a chance to mingle with the IMF sponsored youth leaders and CSOs, the learning only in the first 5 hours of the meetings was phenomenal. I must confess, my mind was boggled, and I felt a little dizzy, either due to sleep-deprivation or due to the information overload, I can’t truthfully say!
It wasn’t until the second day that things came back to normal. Maybe it was the jet lag wearing off; maybe it was the fact that all the other World Bank youth delegates had gelled in so well, as if we had known each other for ages, but there was something about the place that started feeling like home.
On September 17th 2011, six youth delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan & Sri Lanka met for the first time in Washington D.C to attend the ‘World Bank & IMF Annual Meetings 2011’. Though it was the first time we’d seen each other, it felt as if we had known one another for a long time! This was all thanks to our numerous Facebook, Skype and e-mail conversations that took place prior to our final meeting in the U.S.A, which allowed us to recognize the one thing that we all had in common: The aim and drive for socio-economic progress & development in our countries and region and the strong belief that South Asian youth are the key to bringing about the positive change!
I can still remember making a speech about “Experience is the best teacher,” when I was 14 years old and didn't have much of experience about life and the world.
I think the 168 hours or so that I spent in DC with fellow youth delegates were an enlightening and very powerful experience that changed my perception about the world, people, and myself. The launches, interesting live broadcasts, sessions, presentations, publications all made at least one change in the way I think and the way I interpret what I see. Now I believe I am looking at things in a broader perspective than I used to and I have started thinking about the world in a different way.
The three decade long war in Sri Lanka was instigated due to unmet youth aspirations. Today, Sri Lanka is well known as a post conflict country. No Sri Lankan in their right minds would like to witness the same again. As a Sri Lankan who has lived and worked most of my life in Sri Lanka, I can’t help but feel that my future could have been different if there was no conflict during the best part of my youth. I know many others feel the same.
Right now, most of Sri Lanka’s population is of working age. This demographic bonus was opened in the 1990s and will close in a few years time. According to Prof. Indralal De Silva from the University of Colombo, this demographic dividend will close in 2017, given the current trends.
It's time all decision makers and development practitioners think YOUNG. Youth need to be mainstreamed into development work and given a seat at the table to actively participate in policy making processes.
A huge thanks to everyone who participated in the Annual Meeting South Asia Youth Delegates competition!
With so many fascinating and well qualified applicants, it was truly difficult to narrow them down. After days of rigorous review and deliberations, we'd like the candidates below to join us.
No matter what, we would like to continue working together with all of you on different initiatives going forward. Please let us know your thoughts and how we can work together in the near future. Thank you!
Are you between 18 – 30 years of age?
Are you interested in a career in development practice?
Are you engaged in or would like to engage with a youth network working on Youth related development issues?
If yes, join us at the World Bank Sri Lanka Youth Open House, interact with World Bank staff and learn more…
Date: September 1, 2011
Venue: First Floor Conference Room, World Bank Colombo Office, 1st Floor- DFCC Bank building, 73/5, Galle Road Colombo 3
Please note: space is limited and admission will be on first come first serve basis. If you plan to attend, please send a request with a brief introduction to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 p.m. on Monday August 29, 2011. Please clearly indicate the session/sessions you would like to attend. We will then send you a gate pass to attend confirming your participation.
As I skateboarded around downtown Washington last summer, in my shabby shirt and torn up shoes, I thought the World Bank buildings were just some everyday banks, where one went to exchange international money.
Little did I know that the very next summer I would be catching the metro―instead of my skateboard―wearing a button up shirt, tie, slacks, and shiny shoes, to intern in the External Affairs department of the World Bank.
Timor-Leste has one of the youngest populations in the world, with more than three quarters under 30. Opening pathways for young people – allowing them to get an education, find employment and engage in public life – will be critical for building lasting peace and development.