Education & Culture

USAID award fellowships to 26 young Bangladeshi political leaders

Published : 21 Sep 2023 07:43 PM

The USAID-funded Strengthening Political Landscape Program, implemented by Democracy International (DI), awarded certificates to 26 young political leaders from across Bangladesh at the Young Leaders Fellowship Program (YLFP) graduation ceremony organized in Dhaka on Wednesday. 

The graduating fellows are active leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League, Bangladesh Jatiyotabadi Chhatra Dal, and Jatiya Chatra Samaj, says a press release. 

The young politicians received comprehensive training for four months, covering a wide range of topics including politics, leadership, democratic practices, conflict mitigation, political party building and media relations. 

Till date, 536 young leaders have successfully graduated from the program.  The Young Leaders Fellowship Program aims to improve the political skills of young leaders, propel their careers within respective parties, and foster understanding between leaders of different political affiliations. The program creates a professional network that can help bridge the divide in the polarized political landscape of Bangladesh. 

The YLFP is widely acclaimed among young political leaders in Bangladesh, offering a rare opportunity to acquire knowledge and training in leadership and politics. At the graduation ceremony, Bangladesh Nationalist Party-BNP’s Joint Secretary General Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, presidium member of Jatiya Party Shamim Haider Patwari, MP, and Democracy International’s Chief of Party Dana L Olds presented certificates to the fellows. 

Political Processes Advisor of USAID Bangladesh Lubain Chowdhury Masum was also present at the ceremony. 

The graduating fellows shared their insights, learning, and recommendations from the Young Leaders Fellowship Program (YLFP). They discussed their multiparty advocacy successes working together on community issues at the event. Furthermore, they emphasized how they intend to continue working together after the fellowship program and future plans to engage other youth and combat the political apathy of the youth at the grassroots level.

According to Meher Afroz Chumki, those who have been given the chance to participate in this fellowship are fortunate because training always improves a person's skill set. She believes that with this fellowship, DI has shown the young leaders the right path. She urged the young people to be prepared for the future. According to Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, Democracy International is attempting to bridge the gap created by the senior politicians with the newer ones. In reference to DI's achievement of developing this bridge, he claimed that future leadership would be at risk if young people get fed up with politics.

Shamim Haider Patwari said that today's youth want politics to solve problems, they want to do politics of the future for the people of the future.

 The failure of senior politicians is that they have not been able to build bridges with the younger generation. Even though there will be many obstacles, he urged the youth to come and contribute to politics.

In the closing speech, Chief of Party of Democracy International Dana L Olds, congratulating the graduates, said: “Future parliamentarians, ministers and even a prime minister may be in this room today. It is because of your potential USAID is investing in you.” 

She said that the participants worked together to solve community issues, and added this is not the end of their collaboration, urging them to continue nurturing the relationships built across parties and joint advocacy.