Official Launch of Commonwealth Women’s Mentorship Scheme

“A collaboration of wisdom and innovation for the empowerment of young women,” is how Angelique Pouponneau, the vice-chairperson for inclusion and engagement of the Commonwealth Youth Council described the Commonwealth Women’s Mentorship Scheme that connects young female leaders from across the Commonwealth with mentors, both men and women, from the Caribbean and Americas region.

On the 15th March 2017, a call was made from the grand hall of Malborough House for young women aged 18 – 29 years old with some leadership experience to apply to be a mentee for the pilot of the Commonwealth Women’s Mentorship Scheme. It attracted over 700 applications from young women needing or believing that they needed a mentor for personal and professional development.

The official launch of the Scheme took place in Guyana on the 21st of July to mark the start of the Scheme with more than 50 mentors and mentees having been matched. The official launch brought together over 40 people, both young and older, for an inspiring array of interventions and a networking session. Dr Patricee Douglas, a young medical doctor from Guyana, shared her passion for the need for education of young women to ensure they have control over the reproduction and how she has been influenced by her own mentors and now taken a few young people under her wing. Elizabeth Cox, a Rotarian and the only mentor from Guyana, expressed her automatic desire to help others because of all the people who had helped her in her life and why she has committed to spending six months volunteering on this scheme. Cox’s mentee is Mildred Chirwa from Malawi, a young woman passionate about gender equality and combines her time with her own academics, volunteering and is an entrepreneur. Together they are currently working on a marketing plan to diversify and expand her business.

Other speakers included Dr Joy Wilson, a former victim of sexual abuse, shared how incest is one form of sexual abuse that is often ignored yet affects many in our society. Elon McCurdy, the president of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network – Guyana, conveyed the urgent need for environmental leadership and described the work that young people have engaged in to keep the environment clean and promote ocean governance at the level of the individual. Evie Kanhai, a self-made entrepreneur, shared her story of helping young female entrepreneurs to create their own websites to market their products more effectively in Guyana and further afar. Vishal Joseph, a Queen’s Young Leader, and one of the only two men speaking at this event echoed the importance of men in also being part of the advancement of gender equality. Finally, Sharon Patterson, with her many years of experience working with young people, advised the mentees to be good listeners, remain open-minded, and learn as much as possible. She commended the mentors who have selflessly offered their time and counsel to the young people of the Commonwealth.

The photos of the Official Launch can be viewed at the Commonwealth Youth Council’s Facebook album.

To view media coverage from the local press, please click here.

Chairperson’s Official Visits: China, Bangkok & Brunei


22 MAY – 27 MAY 2017

The Chairperson having dinner with the China Young Entrepreneurs Association to discuss the One Belt, One Road Initiative.
A meeting with Dong Xia of All China Youth Federation & Zhang Hua of China Young Entrepreneurs Association; the meeting entailed a discussion on the establishment of a China-Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Council and the One Belt, One Road Youth Forum.
The Co-Founders and CEOs of startups based in China met with Kishva Ambigapathy to share insight on the dynamics of the startup ecosystem in China.


28 MAY – 3 JUNE 2017

The Chairperson of the CYC gave the Opening Keynote at the Evidence-based Policies on Youth Development in Asia: Promoting the Sustainability of the Youth Policy Toolbox in Asia-Pacific at the UN Bangkok. Kishva urged the youths to participate in youth-policy initiatives and ensure its implementation in their respective countries.
Kishva Ambigapathy, Dhanesh Basil (Coordinator of the CYC Secretariat) and Singyuin Christy (Research Officer of the CYC Secretariat) with Malaysian representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Institute of Youth and Research, and Malaysia Youth Council at the Evidence-based Policies on Youth Development in Asia: Promoting the Sustainability of the Youth Policy Toolbox in Asia-Pacific at the UN Bangkok.
Kishva Ambigapathy at dinner with Mr. Punnapat Arunittrakhoon, the President of The Children and Youth Council of Thailand and his team. The Council shared their roles and the activities they have conducted and how it has garnered a strong presence in 76 districts of Thailand.
Kishva Ambigapathy at a Courtesy Call with Mr. Vitat Tachaboon, Director General of Department of Children and Youth, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security Thailand. Both parties shared their roles, past initiatives and discussed potential collaborations.
The Chairperson with the Sri Lanka National Youth Services Council at UN ESCAP.
The Chairperson presented the Commonwealth Youth Council Strategic Plan to Mr. Nisar Ahmed, the Focal Person for Youth Affairs, Ministry of Inter-Provincial Cooperation Pakistan at the UN Bangkok.
Kishva Ambigapathy and Dhanesh Basil (Coordinator of the CYC Secretariat) with India, Singapore, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Bangladesh representatives at the Evidence-based Policies on Youth Development in Asia: Promoting the Sustainability of the Youth Policy Toolbox in Asia-Pacific at the UN Bangkok.

11 JUNE – 13 JUNE 2017

Dialogue Session by Kishva Ambigapathy with the Youth Organisation Leaders in Brunei. The topics of discussion were the youth aspirations and the challenges faced.
During the Chairperson’s official visit to Brunei, he and Dhanesh Basil (Coordinator of the CYC Secretariat) took the opportunity to join friends in the BinaUkwah Project by the Brunei Student Alumni Network. The Project involved packing food and household items to be given to 70 underprivileged families and orphanages.
Kishva Ambigapathy with YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei Darussalam and YB Khairunnisa Ashari. The Ministry of has continuously supported the Commonwealth Youth Council in its youth empowerment & development agenda!
Kishva Ambigapathy had a session with the Student Representatives Council of the Universiti Teknologi Brunei. The topic of discussion was on leadership and students taking an active role in youth movements and the Student Council.
Kishva Ambigapathy visited the Brunei Autism Center for Adults. The CYC envisions a future whereby youth with disabilities will have equal opportunities; an initiative of the CYC is the IAmAble Campaign that aims to build the capacity of youth with disabilities to be community leaders.

Vote Like A Boss Campaign

April 28th 2017, Nairobi

The Commonwealth Youth Council in collaboration with Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) and Kenya UNESCO Youth Forum launched “VOTE LIKE A BOSS” Campaign featuring the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, National Youth Council, and youth leaders.

In her welcoming remarks, Ms Faith Manthi, Vice Chairperson of Partnership and Resources at the Commonwealth Youth Council, encouraged the young people from Nairobi to become involved in the electoral process by emphasizing to them the importance of voting and being aware of their democratic rights.

During the campaign launch, there was a discussion featuring Mr George Osaso, Directorate of Youth Affairs, Mr Dishon Atemo, Kenya National Youth Council, Mr Michael Opondo, Countering Violent Extremism Coordinator and Ms. Jacqueline Njeru, Kenya National Commission for UNESCO. The panelists engaged the youth on various topics ;Involvement of Youth in Promotion of Peace in Kenya, Youth Engagement in Democratic Processes, Works of the National Youth Council in Relation to Peace and Youth Inclusion , Role of CVE in Peace Building , Youth in Civic Engagement and UNESCO’s culture of peace.

‘VOTE LIKE A BOSS’ campaign launch was well received by the public as it presents youth with an opportunity to play a critical constitutional and democratic role in the election process. At the same time, it created an enabling environment for discussions and encouraged political participation of the youth.

To watch the launch video, click here, and to view more event photos, click here.

Chairperson’s Pacific Tour

19 APRIL – 22 APRIL 2017
Left: Kishva Ambigapathy attended the Malaysian Summit of Australia (MASA) as a guest speaker to discuss Transformasi National 2050 (National Transformation 2050).
Right: Kishva Ambigapathy met with Jack Milne, Lead Advisor for the Commonwealth Youth Council’s Inclusion & Engagement Committee, to discuss the empowerment of youth with disabilities & the youth of the Pacific Region!

23 APRIL – 25 APRIL 2017
Kishva Ambigapathy with the Hon. Speaker & the young MP’s of Fiji who engaged in discussions on the CYC & the engagement of Pacific youth. Furthermore, he had the opportunity to speak to the Youth & Sports Minister of Fiji on the development of young people in the country and the Commonwealth Youth Minister’s Meeting taking place in Uganda later this year. The Chairperson also had the pleasure of meeting the Former Deputy Prime Minister at the Parliament of Fiji; they discussed the involvement of young people in politics & governance.

25 APRIL – 29 APRIL 2017
Left: Kishva Ambigapathy met with Samoa National Youth Council to discuss Commonwealth youth issues and the engagement of youth in the region.
Right: Meeting with Women In Business Development (WIBDI) Samoa which aims to create entrepreneurs by building capacities of young people (especially from rural villages) in organic farming & business skills.


Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting 2017

Join us in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa!

For a few days this July/August, the Ugandan government in partnership with the Commonwealth will be hosting a meeting of Youth Ministers, Senior Officials, Stakeholders and Youth Leaders. The theme will be “Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Youth” in recognition of the constraints facing the youth sector globally and the need to have concrete multi-stakeholder partnerships to move forward.

Read more and register your interest below by the June 10 deadline:

For stakeholders:

Apply to be part of the Stakeholder Forum at the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting

For youth leaders:

Registration to the Youth Leaders Forum – 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting

Oh – and we are also looking for speakers! Get in touch! #CYC⁠⁠⁠⁠

4th Institut Darul Ridzuan Annual Research Seminar

Dr. Mazalan Kamis, CEO of Institut Darul Ridzuan

The CYC Secretariat team attended the 4th IDR Seminar, in the Perak state of Malaysia; this seminar is a platform for researchers to present and mobilize their research findings on social economic development. With the theme, “Mobilising Research Findings Into Policy Development for Impactful Actions”, the objective of the Seminar was to highlight quality research findings and derive the information to be used as input into enhancing the Perak State policy development.

Many researchers presented on the following topics: Economy and Business, Politic, Governance and Public Service, Social and Well-Being, and Tourism, Environment and Sustainability. The program provided a thought-provoking setting for participants to share views, knowledge and discuss opportunities to leverage the resources available to counter the current challenges.



CYC Secretariat Perak State Visit

Commonwealth Youth Council Secretariat with the Perak State Chief Minister

Kishva Ambigapathy, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, along with the CYC Secretariat team had a Perak State visit on April 4th 2017. The objective of the Courtesy Call with the various stakeholders was to establish a relationship and seek for potential collaborations for future and ongoing projects with CYC.

First, the CYC Secretariat met with Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR) at the HQ in Perak; IDR is a public policy think tank for the Perak State Government in Malaysia which works with a community of academicians, government agencies and private companies. IDR aims to ensure the well-being of the people of Perak State in these sectors: education, sustainable economy and skilled workers.

Second on the agenda was a courtesy call with the Chief Speaker of the Perak State Assembly, Hon. Thangeswary. During the meeting, the CYC Secretariat shared the roles, responsibilities, and objectives of CYC and discussed possible collaborations with the State of Perak in the near future.

Next, the CYC Secretariat had a courtesy call with Hon. Dato’ DiRaja Dr. Zambry bin Abdul Kadir, Perak State Chief Minister. In the meeting, CYC explained of their role and the Chief Minister has given his support and looks forward to collaborations in the future.

Lastly, the Secretariat met the President of Perak Youth Council and his fellow executives at their office. Perak Youth Council is a member state of the Malaysian Youth Council, which is the main stakeholder partner for CYC in Malaysia. Perak Youth Council welcomes future partnerships and collaborations with CYC, particularly in the area of youth development in Perak State.