41 candidates announced for Commonwealth Youth Council 2021 election

Forty-one young leaders have been announced as candidates who will stand in the election to join the Commonwealth Youth Council as executive members.

Candidates were chosen from more than hundreds of nominations received from across the Commonwealth following a careful review process. They will compete for the nine executive seats on the council.

The online campaigning, which starts on 30th April 2021with candidates announcing their manifestos, will end on 21 May. The voting will take place online on 22 and 23 May, while the results will be out on 24 May.

Elected candidates will serve the council from 2021 to 2023 and will lead inclusive consultation, projects and events to bring forward ideas and concerns of young people to shape youth development policies and frameworks.

Outgoing chairperson remarks

Speaking ahead of the announcement, the outgoing Commonwealth Youth Council chairperson, Tijani Christian, said: “Today, we announce a set of talented young people willing to serve the Commonwealth’s 1.4 billion young people.

“It is important for young people to remain active in the political process through the council and the elected candidates will be the outlet to carry forward their mandate.”

He added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that leadership matters. So, the election will allow young people to provide the innovative, inclusive and impactful leadership that will help us safeguard an inclusive and sustainable future for all.”

The candidates were shortlisted by the Electoral Board of the Commonwealth Youth Council.

Window of opportunity

Head of the Commonwealth’s Social Policy Division, Layne Robinson, urged young people to get involved in the election and engage with candidates on their policy manifestos.

He said: “The disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on young people have revealed that our current system is not working for them. That is not going to change if we return to business-as-usual after the pandemic.

“The pandemic offers a window of opportunity to ensure the voices of young people inform the recovering and rebuilding efforts. The council offers one such avenue to ensure young people feel heard and supported in the decision-making process.”

Mr Robinson added: “That is why, young people should pay attention to the candidates they want to lead the council, who will, on their behalf, work with governments and other stakeholders to realise their needs and aspirations.”

Nominees were required to submit a detailed application that involved their manifestos, personal profile, a letter of endorsement from a national youth council or a youth-led body, and a letter of attestation from a government department.

The election will follow a transparent, fair, independent and democratic process.

Set up in 2013, the Commonwealth Youth Council aims to advance the youth development agenda across the 54 member countries and boost young people’s participation at all levels of decision-making.

The 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and associated events will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2021. The dates of the Commonwealth Youth Forum are 20-22 June 2021.

The Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) helps young people to build connections across countries, to develop initiatives led by young people and to have a voice in the future of the Commonwealth.

Participants will reflect on successes and challenges since the 2018 Commonwealth Youth Forum and plan ahead for the next 2 years.

The theme for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Forum is ‘Taking Charge of Our Future’. The Government of Rwanda, the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Youth Council are convening the youth forum. (End)

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