OUTreach/ Enabling Young Leaders?

Manila, Philippines, 20 August 2015 — Are executives enabling young leaders? We still hear managers and executives refer to young leaders as 'future leaders' and thereby miss the point that they are already leading now and are keen to partner with 'less young' leaders. 

Last week, more than 200 young leaders from Asia and beyond met at the Asian Youth Forum organized at the Asian Development Bank's headquarters to celebrate International Youth Day.

During interviews at the Forum, leaders of global youth organizations pointed out that their biggest challenge is how to influence executives to change their mindset and invest in partnering with young leaders for immediate and longer-term results.

The two-day Forum in Manila was themed Investing in Youth: Engagement, Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship.  As part of the program, a session on Citizenship and Governance was facilitated by Coach Wouter of TransformationFirst.Asia, where participants explored how to make changes happen in leadership, citizenship, open government, social accountability, and anti-corruption.

Forum participants discussed how being a full citizen means "having the capacity to exercise the three dimensions of citizenship," which were seen to include:

  1. Actively seeking to realize one's rights and exercise one's responsibilities,
  2. To be empowered by access to social services and political institutions, and
  3. Feeling a sense of belonging to, and participation in the community, both local and national.

(Adapted from Beauvais, C. et al. 2001. A literature review on youth and citizenship.)

The participants then concluded that in their view, Asia's youth citizenship status has reached only 45% of its potential (full citizenship), and was seen to be ranging from 20% in India to 60% in Korea. There is much work to be done!

Volunteering and helping others to lead were among their chosen paths for youth leader engagement towards full youth citizenship in the region.

Executives and managers were encouraged to enable young leaders to develop innovative solutions and to partner with them in their learning process.