2019 Yali Symposium Experience by 2 volunteers of AYA

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In this year 3rd edition of YALI (Young Africans Leaders Initiative) Impact Symposium organised by Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Cameroon, two African Youth Alliance (AYA) volunteers had the privilege to attend the event at Palais des Congrès Yaoundé on the 16th November 2019.

The symposium sponsored by the US Embassy under the theme “The Role of Youth in Peace building and the Sustainable Development in Cameroon”, was graced with the presence of Cameroon Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Ambassador of the US embassy, invited guests, other dignitaries, Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Cameroon, YALI Cameroon Fellows  and 400 youths.

In the US Ambassador’ welcome address, he congratulated the 400 participants who were selected amongst 2’400 applicants for the work they are doing to impact the lives of their community as well as the national. He also further encouraged them to use the symposium platform to build their skills in becoming agents of change in their respective jobs. The Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education preceded the opening of the symposium and in his speech quoted that “peace and security were indispensable elements for development but youths are a unique resource for development”.  The highlights of the symposium were inspiring talks and a panel discussions by young leaders. The motivational speakers encouraged youth leaders to have a paradigm shift through a change of mindset, develop a positive attitude towards life, identifying a need in the society, make a commitment and focus all their passion to contribute in solving that need.

They were also urged to continuously improve on themselves through learning and also look for mentors who could coach, groom and trained them in their different careers background. The symposium which was very educative and inspiring, helped to strengthen the AYA team capacities as much as improve their personal skills to become more productive in their leadership role as well as contribute to their organisation’ growth. It offered a good networking opportunity for AYA team to meet likeminded youths and organisations to enable them share experiences and knowledge on issues affecting the youths of Cameroon.