“Thanks to Youth Leadership program (YLP), my idea became a dream, and then this dream was put on paper and acknowledged. Now, I won’t stop until this dream becomes a reality,” said Hassan Baalbaki, a YLP4 participant and young leader.

Recognizing the important role youth play in the development agenda, in 2018 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) worked with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)– Mount Lebanon, Injaz Lebanon - Beirut, Nabad for Development - Bekaa, and Shield - South Lebanon, and Siraj – North to support youth develop their ideas.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony to formulate the partnership with DOT and Injaz took place at the Radisson Hotel in Beirut on January 24 2019 from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm, attended by UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Mrs. Celine Moyroud, UNDP Youth and Gender Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs. Ray Bassil, representative from AIESEC, Ms. Rym A. Kalo, representative from Kaynona NGO, Mr. Hammam El Masri, representative from Live Love NGO, Mr. Eddy Bitar, and a number of youth participants from the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP4).

Mr. Masri took the floor to speak about Kaynona, an incubation organization and creative hub for startups and new social entrepreneurs. He explained how the organization provides youth with the nurturing environment needed to develop and grow their start-ups and businesses sustainably.

Mr. Bitar then spoke about the role of youth and the great significance of their initiatives despite the difficulties they face. He stressed on the necessity of volunteering in various fields and referred to the work of his NGO, which involves 300 young people working to promote Lebanese tourism in the aim to enhance social economic growth.

From her part, Mrs. Ray Bassil, who is also a professional Lebanese trap shooter, reiterated that young people are the future of Lebanon, emphasizing the importance of achieving global records and impact in several fields, including sports. “Don’t let any obstacle stand in your way. As long as you have people by your side, you can succeed,” she said.

Following Basil, Ms. Celine Moyroud stated: “It’s very simple. We believe in young people; and we believe in you deciding what type of country and communities you want to live in.” Moyroud continued with encouraging youth to reach out: “What’s important is that you stay in touch among yourselves and with UNDP. Our door is always open.”

Afterwards, the youth participated in a discussion of the programme importance and highlighting various issues hindering their progress and agreed on the importance of steadfastness in the face of the challenges they encounter.

Daniel Abi Fadel, another YLP participant, pointed out the role of YLP workshops and training sessions that brought them closer to fully developing their ideas “This support is very important in order to correctly implement our plans,” Daniel said.

Following noteworthy interventions, suggestions, and discussions from the key speakers and the youth, the MOU was signed by the Resident Representative a.i. Ms. Celine Moyroud and the involved parties. Afterwards, certificates were distributed to the youth participants as well as the partners by the UNDP Resident Representative a.i. and respective NGO representatives.

Note that the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) was developed in 2015 to address the needs of young men and women in the Arab Region, with the core of the programme designed to advance gender equality and women empowerment. Beyond supporting youth in pursing their goals, YLP tackled notions of tolerance, acceptance of others, coexistence, inclusiveness, diversity and community cohesiveness as core principles and a way of life.

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