I believe that in a few years to come, young people will be at the forefront of businesses and institutions. Looking at the Commonwealth countries, the majority of the population is made up of youth. So, the voices of the youth matter because if we must build strong institutions for the generations ahead, then those who will govern these institutions need to have an input.
Firstly, it had to do with the Commonwealth (That’s a big deal!). Also, I had read about the Commonwealth due to my interest in democracy and human rights. So, I was driven by my interest in collaborating with other young people from other partner institutions within the ACU. I needed answers and a support system to work with on the many problems that I face not just within my institution as a student leader but in my everyday life as a citizen of my country Cameroon.
The Commonwealth Future Student Leadership Workshop gave me a chance to connect with student leaders like myself, who challenged me to see that there is strength in diversity, and the responsibility of student leadership extends even to solving societal challenges. Also, my main achievement was being able to interact with officials from ACU, Countering Violence Unit of the Commonwealth, the British Council, the British High Commissioner, institute of Participatory Research in Asia, among many others. From the workshops, I learned that there is a need for us to integrate politics with morality, ethics, and spirituality. I have come to terms with the fact that we need acceptance, respect, and truth in our communities if we must build social cohesion. This will not only eliminate marginalization, but it will also give us all one voice and power to solve challenging problems.
My group looked at issues around Xenophobia and Hate Crime. Our proposed solution was to integrate diversity and acceptance in school curriculums through policies and to ensure that people who practice hate crime and xenophobia are called out. I believe it is possible to integrate issues around such in school curriculums as this is already being practice within institutions in my country. If people are taught about acceptance, diversity, and inclusion from a young age, I believe that this will reduce the rate of hate crime. Also, calling out the culprits will empower other victims to speak up and not be quiet about what they are facing. This will result in a significant decrease in the rate of hate crime and xenophobia.
I believe that in a few years to come, young people will be at the forefront of businesses and institutions. Looking at the Commonwealth countries, the majority of the population is made up of youth. So, the voices of the youth matter because if we must build strong institutions for the generations ahead, then those who will govern these institutions need to have an input. Furthermore, I think that young people have proven to us that they can take charge of the future through breakthroughs in technology, art and media. Therefore, the best way to help build social cohesion is to empower these young people to act on the societal challenges and use the many differences that exist among us from culture to religion, and perspective as a tool to drive the next initiative that will transform lives.
Working with people from different backgrounds always gives you a chance to see things from another person’s perspective. I believe that culture has a way of shaping one’s reasoning and point of view. You may be limited by what you know and have been exposed to, but working with students from different countries across the Commonwealth will push you to see beyond what you know. I do have plans of working with students from my cohort because I see great potential in each one of them, and together, we can create the change we want to see.
Now more than ever before, I have been challenged to love, and practice non-violence. We live in a world where violence seems to be the only language that countries, institutions, and even individuals understand. Within schools, strikes seem to be the way around problems, and even among individuals, dialogue to solve issues is no longer being considered. I think that the Commonwealth Futures program has given me hope and helped me understand that non-violence and truth will always win. It may not seem like it at the moment, but eventually, the result will speak for itself. So, moving forward, I chose to talk things out in a peaceful way.