Two inspiring young Sports Ministers, who were previously Commonwealth Youth Network (CYC) representatives, met with Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC while at the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting (10CSMM) last month.
The Ministerial Meeting was recently held in Birmingham, United Kingdom ahead of the Commonwealth Games and was an opportunity for young leaders and ministers to come together to advance Commonwealth co-operation on key sport policy issues.
The meeting also looked at how investment in sport can be leveraged to boost equitable development and resulted in a renewed commitment to using sport as a vehicle for ensuring the socio-economic, physical, and mental wellbeing of current and future generations - and the building of a common future that ensures that no one is left behind.
The Secretary-General had the pleasure of meeting The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development from Trinidad and Tobago, and Mr Ahmed Mahloof, Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment, from the Maldives.
Both were actively involved in Commonwealth Secretariat work as young people, illustrating how opportunities for youth engagement can translate into future success.
Mr Mahloof was previously Vice Chair of the Asian Regional Youth Caucus of the Commonwealth Youth Programme and first Maldivian to serve in the role.
In 2007, he was appointed by the then Secretary-General to join an Elections Observer Missionto Sierra Leone for the country's presidential elections.
Mr Mahloof was selected, also in 2007, to become a Delegate at the Special Youth Session held at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. He was selected to present a paper to the Meeting delegates on youth issues, at a session chaired by the Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
He was on the organising committee of the highly successful Commonwealth Youth Forum in 2008.
Ms Shamfa was on the Caribbean Regional Youth Council, once part of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, and was formerly a CARICOM Youth Ambassador and a United Nations Youth Ambassador.
Other Youth representatives at the meeting included Akash Jha, Chairman of the Commonwealth Youth Sports for Development Network. He attended 10CSMM and addressed Ministers on the benefits of youth-focused investment and innovation in sport.
He later spoke to BBC World about the Meeting’s youth outcomes during an interview that was broadcast across Asia.
During the meeting, it was also announced that Trinidad and Tobago will host the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda declared that 2023 will be the ‘Year of Youth’ – illustrating that the Commonwealth’s attention is firmly fixed on the empowerment of young people, who represent more than 60 percent of the Commonwealth’s 2.5 billion population.