Programs and Projects

Heading Towards a Common Platform

1920 1255 Zannatul Ferdous Miftah

This article was originally published in Star Weekend, The Daily Star. 

“What is the main purpose of your life?” was the most frequently asked question throughout my two and a half month journey during the Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT) at Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC).If the purpose of our life was just to live, then we all would fail one day. So I would say the purpose of my life is to mobilize people towards taking action for a common good.

I realized that the successful completion of the 12th BBLT program was not the end, but the embryo of my leadership journey. I took the chance to apply to be a campus ambassador for the 13th BBLT program. Ambassadors were recruited from different renowned institutions of Dhaka, including Viqarunnisa Noon College, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh University of Professionals, Islamic University of Technology, BRAC University, East West University.

The Campus Ambassador has the responsibility of encouraging students of their respective education institutions to apply to BYLC programs. Initially, the role of a campus ambassador did not seem very tough to me as I was a fresh graduate of BBLT 12 and had the zeal to bring more young and bright minds under the tutelage of BLYC. I had personally identified many enthusiastic individuals with potential who just needed the appropriate push in the right direction. So, I had to convince the tender hearts to apply to the BBLT program to get their long awaited common platform, and meet other likeminded individuals from diverse backgrounds.

As I worked as Campus Ambassador, I was one again reminded of how important it is to talk about the tenets of leadership to the youth of Bangladesh. There is a common perception that leadership can only by exercised by people in authority positions, such as politicians. But at BYLC, we absorbed the idea that that leadership is all about taking the appropriate action at the appropriate time, the power does not only lie with political parties! So I took my time in explaining to people that leadership is an inherent potential in every individual, all we have to do is to bring the maximum output by utilizing it.

We used the consent letter provided by BYLC to take the permission from the university authority to set up a booth for the applicants at TSC and also post BYLC posters at Curzon Hall, Faculty of Business Studies, Arts Faculty notice board and also to the residential halls and cafeterias at different corner of the campus. We also went on FM radio to talk about our initiatives.

Covering the large campus, postering, passionately giving presentations wearing BYLC’s green polo T-shirt with my fellow campus ambassadors Mahia, Jubaer and Joy was never hectic, rather, we learned from each other, made new friends and preceded towards fulfilling BYLC’s mission to bridge gaps in society by uniting youth from diverse backgrounds, equipping them with leadership, problem solving, teamwork skills and engaging them in community service and active citizenship. By working as Campus Ambassador, I was able to expand my network and maintain new relationships with the academic professionals, clubs and students of my university. The activities enabled me to develop my communication and teamwork skills and I became more confident in giving presentations.

Performing the responsibilities of a campus ambassador was challenging but also exciting and a continuous learning process. I would encourage anyone who wonders about their purpose, to take on leadership roles such as these because no matter how big or small the task, it eventually leads toward making progress for the common good.

Connecting, Collaborating and Co-creating

1920 1255 Iqra L. Qamari

This article was originally published in Shout, The Daily Star. 

As the countdown begun on the enormous screen, the massive crowd joined in, echoing across the hall, the descending of the numbers. The concluding footage showed the alliance of hundreds of delegates, boasted of 30 renowned speakers, of zero selfie count and Facebook scrolling; at the end of it everyone broke into applause.

This was how the Youth Leadership Summit conducted by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) finally finished its three-day program on August 21. The summit was held at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka, bringing together around 400 national and international delegates after a rigorous selection procedure. It consisted of leadership sessions, plenaries and keynote speeches from notable visionaries. read more

Take Charge of Your Life

2736 1824 Tasnim Mustaque

Life after graduation is a thought that torments every graduate. Of course, there is excitement about being unshackled from early morning classes, night-long cramming, and dreadful grade announcement days. However, the “blues” engendered by the brusque realization of adulthood are inescapable – now what?

A myriad of career advices and warnings from deeply concerned well-wishers inevitably accompanies your bane. It is only human to get daunted and confused amidst this pandemonium, eventually losing sight of who you really are and what you really want to do.

An insufferable barrage of questions, the spectrum of which stretches from the utterly practical (How do I get a job?) to the immensely profound (What is my life’s purpose?), stares at you.

Unsurprisingly, every graduate faces the same questions, but the answers are unique to each. There’s no silver bullet, no magic solution. Nonetheless, mistakes and miscalculations made at this crucial time are often irreversible.

To get a bit more perspective, it is worth knowing some facts. Every year a graduate enters the job market as just one in a group of 1.8 million other soldiers. Every year, the employment situation worsens in a country where a sixth of the population is already unemployed or underemployed.

Recent ILO reports state further grim realities. Between 2000 and 2006 about 250,000 jobs were created for every point of GDP growth in Bangladesh. Assuming this estimation is fairly valid, with GDP growth rate of about 6%, annual job creation would be about 1.5 million. But even that does not match the 1.8 million new job seekers every year let alone those who are already unemployed.

With so much difficulty in securing a credible job, no wonder entrepreneurship is the new popular kid on the block for young graduates these days. However, the facts here according to the World Bank, is that only about 9,000 businesses get registered in Bangladesh annually and the Doing Business 2013 study ranks Bangladesh as 129th among 185 countries!

I know the facts above aren’t exciting but I shift uneasily at them too. The writing’s on the wall. It truly is survival of the fittest. The point that I am trying to make is that unless you take charge, your state of confusion based on what other people say is bound to get worse as you strive to enter a fiercely competitive and difficult post-university life irrespective of which profession you might choose to take up. The very people, who will be spearheading our front-lines and giving us direction in a few years’ time, need some direction for themselves right now.

This is the cue for leadership. Long burdened by its unjustly awarded political and authoritative connotation, the word “leadership” holds the answers to all of Bangladesh’s problems. Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), the country’s first leadership institute, has been dedicated to sensitizing and training tomorrow’s young leaders since 2008. The organization believes that the multi-faceted and convoluted predicaments facing our country can only be mitigated by a generation of compassionate and competent leaders. In accordance with that vision, BYLC has implemented an impressive number of youth leadership programs already, uniting students from different academic and socio-economic backgrounds.

The application of leadership in our lives is grossly misunderstood and underestimated. Leadership, when wrongful connotations are ignored, refers to the collective mobilization of a system towards a common purpose. Notwithstanding, the concept of leadership application in our individual lives is largely unpracticed. BYLC believes that the practice of that very concept is what our young graduates need to succeed in their personal and professional lives. Youth Leadership Bootcamp (YLB), a brand new leadership, program has been launched with the view of realizing this vision.

Youth Leadership Bootcamp, as the name suggests, will be a rigorous, fast-paced program on leadership and its application in personal and professional life. The program will consist of lectures on the exercise of leadership, simulative negotiation sessions, team-building games, visits to public and private organizations and non-profit projects, peer learning, and other networking opportunities.

BYLC has always believed that people are most effective when they are exercising leadership on behalf of the issues they are truly passionate about. Youth Leadership Bootcamp will therefore emphasize self-discovery and self-motivation, concepts which are underestimated in our increasingly mechanical post-university lives.

The workshop is designed around three central attributes of leadership: exploration, experience and expression. The program will put you in situations where you will be compelled to open your mind, rediscover yourself, set your imagination free; interact and work with other bright young minds and see firsthand how real life problems are solved in leading organizations; and articulate your thoughts and feelings to engender meaningful change. 100 full-time undergraduates, selected from a competitive pool of applicants, will spend three full days in Chittagong, lodging at BRAC Learning Center (BLC), Kazir Dewri.

BYLC acknowledges that a three-day Bootcamp isn’t enough for you to find answers to your innumerable introspective questions, but it could be an important “turnkey” in unlocking your potential as a confident young mind, in charge of his own life to say the least. Youth Leadership Bootcamp will give participants a well-rounded experience which will leave them refreshed and ready to take on the world.

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