Young leaders establish alliance at Commonwealth Asia Youth Summit

10 May 2024

Sixty Commonwealth young leaders have concluded a landmark Summit in Malaysia with the inauguration of the Commonwealth Asia Youth Alliance (CAYA), which an interim steering committee of the young leaders will drive.

Sixty Commonwealth young leaders have concluded a landmark Summit in Malaysia with the inauguration of the Commonwealth Asia Youth Alliance (CAYA), which an interim steering committee of the young leaders will drive.

The Commonwealth Asia Regional Youth Leadership Summit & Senior Officials Meeting held from April 21 to 26, 2024, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was the culmination of seven days of purposeful dialogue on ways to rejuvenate and improve youth engagement, participation, and collaboration among youth leaders in the region.

Youth members and politicians from across Asia come together

The summit hosted by the Commonwealth, in partnership with the British Council and The Commonwealth Youth Council, convened young leaders from Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.

At the Senior Official’s meeting chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Prime Minister’s Youth Programme from Pakistan Dr Muhammad Ali Makil, youth leaders discussed the fundamental principles guiding youth development and engagement in the Commonwealth.

Dr. Makil, who also serves as Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Ministerial Task Force, applauded the inauguration of CAYA. He said: 

“"While progress has been made in promoting youth engagement, barriers such as limited capacity and political constraints persist, hindering meaningful participation. The establishment of CAYA underscores the youths’ role in driving positive transformation. We are pleased to support the alliance and are confident it will promote collaboration and mutual learning among the region’s youth.

"The timing of this summit holds particular significance, coinciding with the Commonwealth Heads of Government declaration of 2023-24 as years dedicated to youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development. Additionally, it marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth Youth Programme and the 10th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Council."


The extended Commonwealth Year of Youth focuses on empowering young people, raising their issues among stakeholders and governments, and accelerating progress on youth-focused issues. 

Mainstreaming youth voices

The week-long summit provided a platform for participants to exchange ideas during engaging sessions and workshops that focused on capacity building in leadership, governance, inclusion, and regional integration.

Commenting on the meeting, the Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Council, Kim Allen, said:

"This summit shows the Commonwealth Secretariat’s dedication and the British Council’s great support to progress the Marlborough House Commitments from the 10th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in 2023. I thank the government representatives across the Asia Region for your support and commitment to moving the agenda towards a unified youth voice for Asia. The young people in this region have so much to offer and share with other regions and countries through innovation, technology, business development, and platforms."

Progress and resolutions 

The young leaders evaluated progress and upheld resolutions on mandates outlined in the outcome statement from the 10th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting held in and the Marlborough House Commitments that emphasised the need for a unified voice for Asian youth.

They also developed a joint statement to feed into the Commonwealth Youth Forum, which will be presented to leaders at the Commonwealth Head of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa in October 2024.


The Commonwealth Youth Council’s 10th Anniversary

In other events commemorating the Commonwealth Youth Council's 10th anniversary at the summit, the Royal Commonwealth Society of Malaysia hosted an intergenerational fireside chat and a tour of the Malaysian Youth Council and International Youth Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Meghana Murthy, a youth delegate representing India, highlighted the importance of platforms that foster cultural exchange and understanding among young people. She said:

‘Exploring landmarks, immersing in cultural experiences, and engaging with a diverse group from the region has enhanced my appreciation of the host country’s culture. The summit has boosted goodwill and friendship between our nations.’

The Asia region is home to one of the largest youth populations within the Commonwealth, contributing significantly to the collective voice of 1.5 million young people across the 56 member states.

About the Commonwealth Year of Youth

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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