In this post, youth participant Sajid Arghandaiwall from Afghanistan blogs about his experience at the 2nd Asian Youth Forum and the Asian Development Bank’s Annual Meeting. Sajid is a journalist, writer, peacemaker and photographer. You can follow him on Twitter here and find out more about him here.
Many people worldwide constantly struggle to find an opportunity to participate in a conference, forum or any other exchange programme through which they can share their views, exchange ideas, build skills and learn more about different cultures.
As an active member of my society I have always tried to find opportunities through which I can learn new skills and apply that knowledge to help my people, to build communities and advance peace in Afghanistan. The Asian Youth forum gave me the opportunity to gain lots of productive things.
In total we were about 60 participants at the forum. I was the only Afghan participant as part of VSO (Volunteer Service Overseas). Split into four separate groups we were given four different issues for discussion. They included water security, Environment, Education, building skills and unemployment. Ideas were workshopped in an attempt to find suitable solutions. This helped participants to advance their team work and planning abilities. We also had other skills building activities. They included social media, communications, debating and advocacy. Members of YAF gave functional presentations about each topic.
Despite the forum lasting for only two days (April 30 to May 1) the participants gained an experience and more knowledge that will help them in every field of their lives.
The forum was just the start of our experience in gaining knowledge and skills building. We had the 47th Annual Meeting of ADB ahead of us from May 2 to May 5. Around 3,800 international delegates from many different fields participated, including ministers, members of ADB, social activists.
As members of civil society organisations we attended the Annual Meeting. Every group gave their own presentation concerning the different issues that we had workshopped. Many high-level personalities participated including country directors, bankers and journalists to share their suggestions about our presentations. Additionally many civil society organisations had seminars and panels in which the participants of the Asian Youth Forum took part in. This opened doors for the participants to start new projects on returning to their communities.
Meeting and listening to the views of new people from various organisations was one of the benefits of attending the annual meeting. I am really happy by being a part of AYF. It gave me the opportunity to make new friends, learn about other cultures, gain more knowledge and build skills, which is something I have always strived to achieve.