To celebrate the International Day of Democracy, British High Commission Dhaka, US Embassy Dhaka and Democracy International held workshops with a diverse group of young leaders from across the political spectrum on the importance of democracy, and a rules based international system.
Over thirty participants from Democracy International’s Young Leaders Fellowship programme attended the workshop. Groups discussed some of the challenges and opportunities on embedding the principles of democracy; how the voices of under-represented groups such as women and young people can be better heard; and global experiences on democracy.
Speaking at the event, British High Commissioner Robert W Gibson CMG said:
“As today’s event demonstrates, with our partners from the US and Democracy International, the UK has been playing an active role in helping young people to develop, learn and achieve their potential. We have been exploring with them how to promote the principles of democratic and inclusive participation. We hope to create and encourage a new generation of people, for whom the Magna Carta is not an historical document but a living testament for today’s democracies.”
Charge d’affaires a.i. of the US Embassy in Dhaka David Meale said:
‘’Society and technology are forever changing. This compels democracies to continually reexamine their own functioning. But within this evolution, there is an important constant: government must remain responsive and accountable to the will of the people.’’
Deputy Chief of Party, Democracy International (DI) Katie Croake said:
“DI is impressed by the energy and commitment shown by all the youth in the Fellows Programme. As active participants in the political process of Bangladesh these young people bring leadership, skills and ideas to the problems facing their communities. It is inspiring.”
Notes to editors
The UK supports democracy around the world through country-specific support, and by working to develop an international political environment supportive of democratic transitions. We work with regional organisations (the EU, the AU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth) to strengthen their democracy work.
As part of our support to democracy in Bangladesh, DFID and USAID jointly support the Democratic Participation and Reform (DPR) project, implemented by Democracy International. As part of this project, Democracy International has developed a Young Leaders Fellowship Programme for young political party activists, to help constructively engage young people with national and regional party leaders and ensure that the issues young people face are addressed in party and national policies,. Each six-month fellowship includes a group of 25-30 men and women representing all the major parties and all seven regions of the country. The fellows attend a three-day training seminar in Dhaka each month and then return to their home districts to apply the training while working with senior party leaders to organise events in their districts. To date, 129 young political leaders have graduated from the program and remain active in the Fellow Alumni Association and over 4,000 young grassroots party activists have participated in programme activities.