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Be the Change: Youth Dialogue on Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship

15 Feb 2021

On Saturday, 20 February, “Citizens” in collaboration with the “Who is Hussain Sri Lanka” organisation will host “Be the Change: Youth Dialogue on Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute. Citizens Founder/President Mahees Ahmed shared with us that this forum hopes to constructively engage the youth on youth development and empowerment to create more sustainable, peaceful, and inclusive societies, both locally and globally. It aims to bring together youth-led and youth-involving organisations, providing an ideal opportunity not only for the youth, but also for other actors such as the public sector, civil societies, academia, the private sector, and other relevant stakeholders to engage in a more meaningful dialogue with a focus on innovation and social entrepreneurship than previously experienced – a forum where all young people, irrespective of differences and with no discrimination, can discuss contemporary issues they face and seek innovative and persistent solutions. Citizens is a youth-led movement focusing on youth empowerment and peacebuilding, and it is their purpose to empower global youth leaders to shape the future for the better. Mahees stated that beyond the event, they also hope to monitor its impact on participating members and their communities and further provide them with resources and access to necessary mentorship to further the conversation. The organisation has put together several events in the recent past, including the Conference for Social Justice in 2019, Concepts of Human Rights in 2018, and Discovering your Individuality in a 30 Under 30 World in 2018. The events collaborator Who is Hussain is a global movement with teams in 90 cities across the globe, including Sri Lanka, and the organisation’s volunteers have also hosted a multitude of local events to make a positive change in society, through giving back to those most in need. Mahees shared the event was born of the recent changes taking place in the global experience; with the Covid-19 pandemic affecting all layers of society and the world, the economy has collapsed, political order has deteriorated, social problems have been on the increase, and vulnerable communities have become more vulnerable than ever. He added that young people all over the world have come forward to serve those in need, stating that the commitment of youth volunteers during this time of crisis have been even noted and commended on international platforms. Young people are innovative and look at contemporary social problems in a new light. Social entrepreneurship has become a focus of many youth and they aim to engage in entrepreneurship while benefiting society simultaneously. “Be the Change: Youth Dialogue on Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship” as a forum hopes to encourage, inspire, and facilitate youth actors and their social entrepreneurship with much-needed focus on innovation – and to do so, the event will feature a number of speakers, including Guest Speaker Dr. Mohammed Abbas Khaki who is a multi-award-winning UK-based NHS General Practitioner, international humanitarian aid worker, and Who is Hussain Foundation Founding Chair and Trustee (International Charity). The panellists include UNFPA Sri Lanka Assistant Representative Madusha Dissanayake; brand purpose consultant, advocate, content creator, and Shhh – The Talkshow Host Shanuki de Alwis; Digital Storytelling Founder and Chief Instructor Benislos Thushan; and SABAH Sri Lanka CEO Dinusha Rajarathna. Venue Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute 114, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7 Date and time Saturday, 20 February 2021 3 p.m to 6 p.m.

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