Building Young Leaders

There is always (token?) talk of engaging youth and building young leadership in the global health movement. I just had the priviledge of hearing Frika Chia Iskandar from Indonesia speak on the issue of the future of AIDS advocacy and what it will take to truly build young leaders.

Her message was simple and seemed from the heart. Are the current leaders in AIDS ready to work with youth? Are they considering the process of letting go, the process of sharing? The process of mentoring? How will they begin to unpack their boxes of knowledge to assist the leaders of tomorrow?

Global Health, and AIDS, are both areas dominated by an older generation – some interested in building the next generation, but most focused on their own agendas and politics. In the Global Health Mentorship Project we are fortunate to have experts who see the value of sharing knowledge. But why is it so hard, as I lobby for our mentorship project at this conference, to engage more experts? Why are people hesitant to share knowledge?

The experts are busy. They are running parts of our world. But let us not repeat ourselves as youth come into the limelight of leadership, ill-prepared and re-creating mistakes because our potential teachers would not take the time to truly consider what it means to prepare young people to be leaders and facilitate change.

I think this message was the best message of the conference so far. (But maybe I’m a bit biased.)

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~ by kcanderson on August 6, 2008.

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