While studying mass communication at Daystar University, Linda Okero was a member of the Kenya Model United Nations (KMUN) press team. That’s where her interest in youth and development was sparked. She attended a conference at the United Nations where the youth issues affecting the African continent like poverty, war, and poor governance. The discussions tuned her mind to focus on being part of the solution to perennial problems that faced her country of birth, Kenya and the continent at large.
Because of her passion in diplomacy, she got selected to attend and participate in the 6th Edition of the Young Diplomats Forum slated to happen in London between 11-15th July 2016. The event which is a week-long capacity building event in London is the world’s leading event for young and aspiring diplomats and future leaders to enhance and develop their skills in areas around international relations.
As a Kenyan representative, we sat down with her to get to know more about her and the Young Diplomats Forum in London.
Capital Campus (CC): We already introduced you but we would want to know, why the passion for young people?
Linda: In the past, Kenyan youth who constitute over 70% of the population have not been actively engaged in the designing, planning and implementation of policies that affect them at an individual and national level. However, focus on the youth agenda over the years has given rise to an empowered Kenyan youth. I want to stand up and be counted.
Tell us your journey and some of the things that you have been involved in.
Under Global Peace Festival Foundation and World Youth Alliance, I have engaged in character education and training in various primary and secondary schools in Nairobi for example New Light Secondary school and engaged in various slum projects at Mukuru kwa Njenga. These activities target the humanity of persons; creating comprehension of human dignity, solidarity, and freedom. Being a mentor of Akili Dada network and getting accepted into the YALI East Africa program solidified my agenda of cultivating and nurturing a generation empowered to captain their own ship.
Why is this conference so important to you? What do you stand to gain in your career as a person?
It’s a great opportunity to interact with other like-minded youth leaders from across the globe and share ideologies on matters diplomacy. Through this community of exceptionally bright and accomplished future leaders, I will gain further insight, tools and opportunities to engage with key stakeholders at a crucial time in my career and broaden my connections to influence global leadership.
A key mandate drafted in the Kenyan youth action plan was an emphasis on ensuring there is youth inclusion in drafting and implementing strategies to ensure national development is achieved in all pillars of our nation. Thus, my participation in this forum offers a great opportunity to learn, engage and actively participate in economic, social, political and cultural issues while presenting and promoting the African, more so the Kenyan narrative.
How did you get this opportunity and what advice can you give young people who desire the same?
There are many opportunities in terms of conferences and summits that are available online for the youth to engage in. All it takes is one to research, find what suits your interests and apply. Some of them are fully funded while others require one to fundraise like the one that I’ve applied for.
What are your expectations when you attend the event?
My expectation is that the forum will provide equal opportunities for all participants to productively participate through sharing of ideas and experiences with the objective of integrating the youth and working with them in national development. I am sure, such exposure and engagement will build and enhance my skills and capacity in preparation for leadership in my interest areas of policy formulation, transparency, program implementation and stakeholder collaboration. This forum indeed presents an excellent opportunity to pursue my development agenda at a global level, feeding my hunger of empowering societies.
What do you hope to become when you have acquired these skills? How will the young people of Kenya benefit from your skills?
Linda: As an aspiring diplomat, my immediate action will be to engage and share my experience with the Young Diplomats of Kenya, a pristine organization of aspiring diplomats residing in Kenya, the first of its kind in Africa and the third in the world. My agenda will be to discuss and discover areas of collaboration, how to enrich and impact the current membership under the association and drafting ways of ensuring the mandate of the association is achieved with a strong and lasting impact, setting the pace for other forums in Africa.
Final words for the readers?
Linda: For many youths, the future looks bleak; but I am optimistic. We as the youth need to realize that we are the agents of that change that we seek: we need to create for ourselves the opportunities that will enable us to rise to higher levels of life. All it takes is to grasp the power within reach and be willing to bet on yourself.
Click the link to get more information about the forum. http://www.gdforum.org/menu-1/