Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), the country’s first leadership institute, works to bridge gaps in society by uniting youth from diverse backgrounds, equipping them with leadership, problem solving, and team building skills, and engaging them in community-service and active citizenship.
Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center’s (BYLC) vision is to create a poverty free Bangladesh driven by the next generation of home-grown leaders.
The challenges that confront Bangladesh today are immense, complex, and disparate. Our country is threatened by climate change, ecological devastation, violent partisan politics, rising youth unemployment, as well as widening and deepening socio-political and economic inequalities. There is a pressing need for courageous, compassionate, and competent leadership in Bangladesh today to provide innovative, sustainable, and pragmatic solutions to these problems. Unfortunately, in our society the concept of real leadership, while widely discussed has often been misunderstood. Leadership is frequently perceived as a position of power and authority.
However, at BYLC we believe that leadership is distinct from authority; it is a process, not a position. Leadership is work-centric, not person-centric. If we look at leadership as the process of mobilizing a group to improve the human condition, then it opens up new and exciting opportunities for ordinary people to participate in leadership activities. This is especially relevant for Bangladesh where the median age of the population is 24, according to 2010 estimates of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Most young people do not hold formal positions of authority. But does this mean that this generation cannot contribute to the country’s development today? We believe that formal authority is not a requirement for exercising leadership. Leadership can be exercised by anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status. What is required for young people to exercise effective leadership is ability, passion, patriotism, and courage.
And these are the values that we try to instill in the young generation at BYLC. Our mission is to inculcate in young people a strong sense of national identity and civic responsibility, which will energize them to actively work for the betterment of society. BYLC provides a platform for young people to develop leadership skills and participate in the country’s development process. BYLC also unites youth from diverse socio-economic and educational backgrounds because closely related to effective leadership is the ability to embrace diversity and to construct a broad narrative that respects differing values and viewpoints. And through this process, we aspire to fulfill the founding ideals of Bangladesh and create a more inclusive, tolerant, and just society.