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Secretary-General to youth: Through you we can deliver lasting solutions to global challenges

19 August 2016

The new secretariat of the Commonwealth Youth Council was launched today in Malaysia at a ceremony attended by Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

The youth council is composed of representatives of national youth bodies from the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth. It is the representative voice of more than 1.2 billion young people.

Kishva Ambigapathy, who was elected as Chairperson at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in Malta in November 2015, presided over the ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.

Thanking the government for its support to establish the secretariat, Mr Ambigapathy said today was a "proud moment for Malaysia".

"The Commonwealth Youth Council amplifies the voice of young people at the grassroots and among marginalised groups so they can be heard at the executive level by policy-makers," he said. 

Mr Ambigapathy, an engineering student, leads a nine-person executive composed of youth representatives from Africa and Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, and Pacific regions.

The ceremony involved the unveiling of a plaque for the building, as well as cultural performances and discussions between the youth leaders and policy-makers.

Secretary-General Scotland said global sustainable development goals, such as on combating climate change, ending poverty and reducing equality, can only be achieved with young people leading the way.

“Young people are often catalysts for positive change, calling for democracy, good governance, social and environmental sustainability. Through you we can deliver lasting solutions to global challenges,” she said.

At the launch, Dato Seri SK Devamany, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said Malaysia was "very glad to give this opportunity" to the Commonwealth.

The youth council was established in 2013 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat and endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their biennial summit in Sri Lanka that year as an “autonomous, youth-led” organisation.

The council’s executive advocates on behalf of young people aged 15 to 29 on issues such as employment, equality and climate change, and peace building.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Ajitpal Singh, Under Secretary of International Relatins at Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, Datuk Feisol, President of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Malaysia branch, and Ju Fitri, Vice President of the Malaysian Youth Council.

Feature image: Commonwealth Secretary-General Scotland with Kishva Ambigapathy, Chairperson of Commonwealth Youth Council at the Youth Council headquarters launch in Malaysia.