The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo would like to work with a local partner to organize a four-day Youth Forum Leadership Summit, tentatively scheduled for February 2024. The Summit would bring together Youth Forum members representing the U.S. Embassy Colombo’s American Corners in Kandy, Jaffna, Matara, Colombo’s American Center, and the iHUB in Batticaloa (approximately 75 Youth Forum Members total from the five sites in Sri Lanka) as well as 20-25 Youth leaders from the South Asian region (nominated by the U.S. Missions to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, and Maldives) for a three-day, in-person workshop of skill-building sessions intended to develop the skills and understanding of a new generation of Sri Lankan youth leaders. Through the Forum, participants will have opportunities to learn from each other as well as expert trainers and speakers, including alumni of U.S.-sponsored exchange programs and high-level Embassy and Government officials. The Summit’s sessions will focus on building the capacities of the Embassy’s American Spaces’ lead volunteers, and the Youth Forum members, through discussions about leadership skills, training opportunities, building understanding of U.S. policy goals and how those goals apply to programming in the American Spaces, and exposure to other young leaders in the region. The Summit will also allow the youth to consider their futures, including educational and professional pathways that will allow them to grow their careers and their communities. Following the workshops focused on professional skill building, the group will spend an additional day working together on a community service project that they have helped to design and organize. After the Summit, the organizer should provide participants with an opportunity for ongoing training, mentorship, and reflection to ensure the lessons from the Summit carry into the Youth’s lives after they have returned home. Working via a cooperative agreement, the primary award would go to a local organization who will be the local primary organizer of this event, working in tandem with the Embassy’s American Spaces team and volunteers at each American Corner, with reporting and monitoring requirements according to the grant regulations. Program Objectives: Through this program, the youth participants will gain understanding and capacities as youth leaders in their communities. They will explore U.S. policy goals around climate change, entrepreneurism, diversity and acceptance, free and fair governance, and social exchange, as well as other issues of importance as determined by the Embassy and Sri Lanka, and build a greater understand of how those goals apply to programming in the American Spaces that they support with their volunteering. They will explore regional connections as well as education and professional pathways. Finally, the group will develop their interest and skills by working effectively on a community service project. Participants and Audiences: Youth Forum members, ages 18 – 24, who are lead volunteers at American Spaces in Sri Lanka as well as throughout the region (to include Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives).
U.S. Mission to Sri Lanka