the Emerging Global Leaders Program in Barbados and St. Kitts
November 6, 2009 by Marinette
If any significant events take place when the stars and moons of the galaxies align, then they must have aligned over Barbados and St. Kitts during the last two weeks of October. The Scotia Bank – York University Emerging Global Leaders Program (EGLP) was held on both of these Caribbean soils.
This annual, international version of EGLP is facilitated by the York International Office, York University, Toronto, Ontario Canada and funded by Scotia Bank. This program seeks to bring together identified young teenage leaders of different Caribbean countries, to learn and develop leadership skills. The participants of this program come from the many different countries of the region: Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Jamaica (participants attended the program hosted in Barbados) Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Barbados, Guyana, Turks and Caicos, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Nevis (participants attended the program hosted in St. Kitts).
Beginning last year, EGLP implemented a two-year cohort version. This version in principle was set out to explore, introduce and develop leadership skills in the participants. During every EGLP participants are urged to focus on issues which affect their communities’ livelihood. Participants are expected to use such issues as the foundation and propeller to create projects to address such issues. Hence, most participants of 2008 EGLP returned to their home countries and executed the conceptualized projects. These participants were recently invited back to EGLP, to share findings, the progress of their projects and lots more, with each other and the facilitation team.
The projects carried out during the last year have addressed many issues and are still addressing these issues as we speak. For instance, the Antigua and Barbuda delegation which is now named Uni.F.Y (Unite For Youth) is focusing on the high levels of segregation among high school students of Antigua and Barbuda. Uni.F.Y realized that there were very low levels of integration among their nation’s high school students and saw this as a grave issue, one which could possibly affect Antigua and Barbuda’s future. Hence, they set out to get rid of supercilious thoughts and ideals and ring the bell of ‘One flag, one blood, one people, one nation!’ Additionally, the St. Maarten delegation which now goes by the name of Team Green focused on the dwindling numbers of mangroves in their country, which were once very prominent and provide ecological stability to St. Maarten’s environment. These are only two examples of projects carried out in the last year, many others were done and all were very successful. This goes as far to show that if so much can be done in one year; there are lots more our young leaders are capable of doing. Interestingly, some of these projects are promising to move to a new phase, which is regional.
Moreover, EGLP has shown itself to not only be a program where students learn about leadership, but also increases self-awareness. Miss Prudence Julien, sole representative of Guyana noted that EGLP has given her the tools to grow into a wonderful, powerful and confident young lady. This personal growth was not only noted in Miss Julien, but in all the returning participants by the facilitation team in that of, Mr. T. Craig Wright, Miss Heather Moore and Miss Charmaine B. Bene and the returning EGLP mentors (Local Mentors: Jawanza Bassue, Genece Brown, Venelle Powel, Carlon Knight, Kiwa Adams and Cordelle Lazare Canadian Mentors: Danielle Olsen, Afzal Habib, Wajma Soroor, Tamaisha Eytle). “The mantra ‘Yes We Can’ originated from President Obama, but I have never fully identified with these words until I saw the manifestation of all what I have learned about self and leadership from EGLP. Because of this EGLP experience, I can now say that I Can, You Can and finally Yes We Can.” These emotional words were spoken by Miss Britney McDonald, founding member of Uni.F.Y.
In addition to these returning successes, new participants have been inducted to EGLP St. Kitts. This program, no matter where it is held more often than not, inspires participants to make a change in their communities. However, with this well known aspect the facilitation team and mentors have noted that the bulk of the inspiration which went around came from within the students themselves. They have inspired each other, whether be it from new to new or new to old participants, inspiration was an abundant theme. Fortunately, many new delegations have committed themselves to new country projects, so these are things the public should hold in high esteem and support wholeheartedly. These projects are at the conceptualization phase; however are programs which are direly needed in our Caribbean societies. The projects are focusing on pressing issues such as the forever increasing crime rate, sporting facilities for children, segregation, etc.
One thing which was made fundamentally clear throughout these recent EGLP is that the world should have no queries as to the filling of global leadership capacities in the near future, because everyone touched by EGLP has shown the ability to captivate and lead at any level.
Notwithstanding the above about EGLP, the Emerging Global Leaders Program is also held in Canada. There are two versions held annually in Canada, EGLP – University (January) and EGLP – High School (May). EGLP was first held in the beginning of the new millennium, the year of 2000 and has never looked back since. The York International Office is headed by Dr. Lorna Wright.