A Microcosm of Society
16 years ago the idea of a youth summit was conceived. It should educate and engage and also provide free space for discourse, where ideas would flow and identities form. Thus was born the Young Leaders Conference (YLC). Today, YLC may be termed the most-awaited event for young people in Pakistan. The conference attracts youngsters from every corner of the country and also from around the world. YLC is an annual six-day affair designed as a rigorous and thought-provoking leadership training program. At YLC, young people who aspire to be leaders are exposed to a diverse gathering which helps them understand, analyze and also find solutions for the problems of our times.
Over the years, YLC has featured speakers and experts from politics, the business community, academia, the media, the arts, advertising, you name it.
This year, the YLC celebrated its 16th anniversary. With 300 participants between 18 and 24 from different social, economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds, the conference is a microcosm of Pakistan’s diverse society. Importantly here as in other parts of the region, the youth make up the majority of the population.
With its unique blend of experiential learning, interactive sessions, role plays and group based activities, YLC focuses on learning with a thematic overview. “The 300” was the theme of this year’s event. Each of the six days had a sub-theme that helped participants in developing what organizers term “a holistic outlook”: Personal Leadership, Development Leadership, Cultural Leadership, Economic Leadership, Political Leadership and Social Action Projects – these were the headers of each of the six days.
Well known leaders from politics, the business,and the arts gave presentations and engaged the participants. Leading motivational speakers and trainers, including School of Leadership’s (SoL) Founding Directors, Kamran Rizvi, Shireen Naqvi and Saima Khan joined the conference so were popular personalities such as Junaid Iqbal, Raza Pirbhai or Kirsty Campbell to name but a few from the pool of first-class experts.
“YLC is a conduit of ideas and provides a platform for youth from across Pakistan", says Umair Jaliwala, Director at the School of Leadership. “The young people need this exposure and the great work of our alumni network proves that YLC brings about a paradigm shift in priorities”, he says.
He’s not alone in his praise: “I never thought I would learn so much in such a short time. I realized if I want to, I can learn from anything and everything”, said Azhar, a young participant from rural Sindh.
Catch highlights of the 16th YLC here.