1ST HIGH LEVEL EAC YOUTH AMBASSDORS DIALOGUE ON REGIONAL INTEGRATION
SECRETARY GENERAL’S WELCOME NOTE
5TH – 6TH NOVEMBER, 2018
EAC HQs, ARUSHA TANZANIA
It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the EAC Headquarters as young people. I applaud you for spearheading efforts to organize the 1st High Level East African Community Youth Ambassadors Dialogue on Regional Integration. I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to my team at the EAC Secretariat, particularly the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research (NCPR), our development partners who have supported this event, the EAC Youth Ambassadors present and all who have worked tirelessly to ensure we have this high-level panel dialogue.
The overall goal of the 1st High Level EAC Youth Ambassadors Dialogue on Regional Integration is to bring together young people under the East African Youth Ambassadors Platform for a two-day intensive dialogue. This is a collaborative, open and inclusive space for young people to critically and objectively reflect on the progress made so far; challenges encountered; and prospects for enhancing meaningful youth participation in the political process within the EAC region.
To date, the EAC Youth Ambassadors Platform consists of over 150 Members since its formation in the 2nd University Debate held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2013. These numbers are growing on an exponential basis aiming at bridging the information gap about the EAC integration and foster their participation in accelerating the integration through knowledge and experience sharing. This has seen the formation of EAC Youth Clubs in institutions of higher learning at national level to bring the integration closer to the youth.
This in effect has continued to further deepen the implementation of achieving the Political Federation process in the EAC and the need for meaningful youth participation in the political processes. A number of youth have been exposed to opportunities which have enabled them to enhance their leadership skills among others.
It is my sincere hope that during the two-day dialogue, you will reflect on opportunities and barriers for meaningful youth participation in the political processes at the individual, organizational and societal levels.
Let us think of how we can improve the capacity of youth-led and focused initiatives under the EAC Youth Ambassadors Platform participation in the political processes at local and national levels with the aim of moving from tokenistic to impact-oriented approaches; as well as create the functional linkages between national and regional networks as well as their initiatives aimed at empowering young people to meaningfully to participate towards achieving the East African Community mission and vision.
Further on, I am excited at the prospects of youth in the EAC agitating for a forum that will engage them and afford them the space to advocate for policies that will bring meaningful engagement in their political processes, as well as enhance their future and the success of the ultimate goal of EAC integration as we move towards a Political Federation.
It is my sincere hope that the dialogue will be an opportunity to forge new networks and cement lifelong friendships that will above all widen and deepen the East African integration. In a note of excitement, hope, and optimism, allow me to conclude by wishing you all fruitful and engaging deliberations.