Over 200 young leaders from across the region assembled in Tobago for the four-day 2023 Caribbean Youth Leadership Summit (CYLS).
CYLS was hosted by the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) in partnership with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation, the Commonwealth, the Tobago Youth Council, and the Trinidad Youth Council.
The event which opened at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex on January 12 under the theme – Adding global value: Taking charge of our Future, comprised regional youth councils and represented the collective voice of Caribbean youth.
Tobago Youth Council trustee Dimitri Fraser in welcoming the youth leaders encouraged them to make the best of the CYLS experience.
“Regardless of your situation, regardless of any moment, any event, any opportunity, any CYLS – everything in life is perspective and how you make it, everything in life is how you make it.”
Describing Tobago as the “greatest little island on earth,” Caricom Youth Ambassador for TT Keigon Denoon said the aim is not only to recognise the accomplishments of young people across the Caribbean, but also to "put minds together to ensure that in the end, the goal is accomplished.”
“Globally, we see most governments are now placing emphasis on youth development in their respective countries, therein understanding that the best investment any country can make is investing into its youth population. This investment is done by nurturing, developing and strengthening all the young people under their watch.”
He said this global drive is not by guess.
“It’s due to the culmination of relentless efforts of all the young people rising up and understanding the power of both their individual and collective voices. It is in the power of these voices and through youth advocacy that have engaged governments and have encouraged them to provide more opportunities to young people to make a valuable contribution to the same society that we are set to inherit.”
The sustainability and advancement of the region, he said, hinges on unlocking the potential of each child so that they can meaningfully contribute to the socio-economic development of every country they are a part of.
“This is done by defying the odds and the challenges that they are facing, enabling them to rise to unimaginable heights. Adding global value: Taking charge of our future – taking charge means placing an importance on your life, it means as youth leaders we use our influence, our credibility, our capabilities and our talents to give a voice to the voiceless ensuring that we are advocates for young people, adding global value by using their gifts, their talents, their creativity to birth initiatives to cause commercial values in their respective countries.”
The youth population, he said in indeed an asset to every nation.
“If rightfully utilised, can lead a country to heights of glory and prosperity that they never dreamed of.”
The summit ran until January 15 and featured discussions on practical solutions and strategies for youth to contribute and add value to advancing global development in a post-covid19 world.