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European Commission Young Leaders Programme calls applicants worldwide to speak up at the European Development Days 2017

Young people from all corners of the world, aged 21 to 26, are invited by the European Commission to take part in the Young Leaders Programme at this year’s European Development Days (EDD 2017).

The event is Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development and it will take place in Brussels on 7 and 8 June. The Young Leaders Programme will engage young leaders to be part of the debate on the future of international development cooperation.

Calling all Young Leaders worldwide EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “European Union strongly supports the empowerment of young people, as they are the pillars of tomorrow’s world. Our society needs their inspiration and courage to be more peaceful and prosperous. Through the Young Leaders Programme, we want to give voice to them.

Their contribution to global development efforts is absolutely invaluable.” Sixteen youth representatives will be selected based on their exceptional skills, experience and commitment to development issues. Once selected, they will be invited to participate in EDD 2017 high-level panels, share their ideas and experiences and be part of the global debate with key development stakeholders, policymakers and participan

Sharing ideas and experience with international decision-makers

Nestor Dehouindji, Benin “Taking part in EDD 2016 meant that I felt that all the work I have done at a local level impacted and gave insights to the international development community. It was wonderful to feel that people were interested, concerned and learning from my own development experience. And I also believe that I created a network of other young leaders which became like a little family when we were in Brussels and hopefully we will stay connected for many years to come.” Nestor is a young journalist specialised in economics and trade, with strong academic background in the contribution of international trade to development, and an extensive knowledge of the World Trade Organisation.

Vandinika Shukla, India “Being selected for EDD 2016 was an incredible opportunity for me. I was an equal participant in such a significant international dialogue on inclusive development policy. I was with like-minded peers, I spoke directly to those who decide on policy and I was listened to and even challenged! It was an experience of a lifetime for me and it gave me a global community of young leaders that I will cherish forever.” Vandinika has been the Head of Project Enable, an initiative aimed at empowering high school children to make their schools more accessible and equal opportunity driven through the implementation of the Indian Right to Education Act, which protects the right to access quality education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The online application for the Young Leaders Programme is open from 2 February until 9 March.

Applicants will need to submit a two-minute video explaining why they should be chosen to speak on one of the EDD 2017 THEMES AND TOPICS. Applications will be received via the EDD 2017 website:

Contact EDD 2017 Press Team

Alice Dashwood Tel.: +49 (0) 30 65 000 381 E-mail:

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