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Promoting cultural and geographical diversity
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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Each year at their annual workshop, the IEC Young Professionals elect three leaders to serve as the YP ambassadors within the IEC community. As part of their mandate, IEC YP Leaders are asked to implement projects that can benefit the IEC community.

At the recent IEC YP workshop held alongside the IEC General Meeting, IEC YP Leaders from 2019, Baoying Tong and Shuo Wang, presented the outcomes of their projects that sought to strengthen and increase participation in the IEC YP Programme.

Promoting cultural and geographical diversity

Participation by IEC YPs from Africa is low, representing 6% of all young professionals between 2017 -2019. According to Baoying, “This is a missed opportunity and leads to a biased discussion. The IEC YP Programme benefits when it can include the perspective from all parts of the world.”

As a result, Baoying sought to promote cultural and geographical diversity as well as strengthen YP ties with IEC National Committees in Africa, with a specific focus on Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Uganda. This has led to many meetings with IEC National Committees, as well as the update of the Guidelines for establishing National YP Programmes.

The results have been impressive. Relationships between the IEC YP programme and IEC NCs from Africa have been strengthened, resulting in a mentoring agreement between South Africa and Uganda and collaboration sharing between Australia and Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya with Ghana. In addition, 14 African YPs from seven countries representing 13% of the 2021 nominations attended the recent YP workshop.

As Baoying notes, “We are really excited that we can bring new perspectives into the YP programme. The YP programme is strengthened when it can include voices from around the world.”

Importance of national YP programmes

Shuo Wang undertook a project to improve the participation of young professionals from the Asian Pacific region through national YP programmes. According to Shuo, the project sought to “share best practices between national YP programmes, enhance the communications among young professionals in the region and to organize regional events.”

The project brought together a team of 14 representing Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea Rep., Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. As a first step, the team put together a survey to better understand the ideas of the YP activities in the region to find a better way in which cooperation could be possible. Nine IEC National Committees responded with ideas that included joint training sessions, knowledge and experience sharing and open collaboration sessions.

As a result, the team organized a webinar together with the IEC Academy in May 2021 on the topic of best practices to enable young professionals in the Asia Pacific region. As Shuo noted, the webinar allowed participants to “learn more about how NCs attract YPs and encourage them to stay active whether at the national or international level. We were really excited by the number of participants which included NC Secretaries and officer as well as IEC YPs and their enthusiasm.”

The presentations and videos from the webinar are available on the IEC Academy webpage.

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