On May 4, the State Department hosted the Emerging Young Leaders Award ceremony where 10 international honorees were recognized for their extraordinary efforts in reducing crime, expanding civic engagement, improving education, and promoting interfaith dialogue within their communities.
While the awardees are a diverse group from all around the world, with a wide variety of projects, there is a common thread that connects them all: they recognized problems in their communities, identified solutions, and did the heavy work of putting those solutions into practice. As Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Mark Taplin said, “The Emerging Young Leaders Award winners didn’t passively wait for someone else to recognize the problem and fix it for them. They decided to take it upon themselves to own the challenge and help set into motion positive change.”
These 10 young leaders are proving they can make our communities -- local and global -- better places in which to live and to work. Here’s a sample of the work this group has been doing in their communities, often in very difficult conditions:
- Created an anti-discrimination campaign “Redefining us,”
- Led the “Stop the Violence” campaign to advocate against gender-based violence,
- Organized the Afghan Girls Leadership Program,
- Promoted pluralism through a “Days of Interreligious Youth Action” initiative,
- Launched a youth based project “Young People in Communication,”
- Led projects aimed at empowering women, promoting volunteerism and leadership, countering violent extremism, and improving civic education,
- Founded “Our Shared Difference” an intercultural and interfaith project,
- Led “Challenge your Knowledge”, a social media and arts campaign,
- Created a dance company for at-risk youth, and
- Developed a mobile app that allows users to report criminal activity in real-time.
The Emerging Young Leaders Award program is specially designed to connect the 10 awardees with American counterparts -- both in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas -- during an exchange program. Together, they are expanding their leadership capabilities, strengthening their knowledge of management strategies, learning and sharing best practices, and broadening their networks. The State Department invests in emerging young leaders, because we recognize their vast potential as the peace makers and problem solvers of tomorrow. Our goal is to connect U.S. and international youth with networks and resources that can bolster their efforts to promote peace and security, thereby creating a safer future for all of us.
About the Author: Michael Cavey serves as a Press Officer in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.