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Career AdvicePersonal DevelopmentSustainable Development

Youth Empowerment and Sustainable Development – The Making of a Sustainable Leader

A recent UNITAR report suggests that the world is home to the largest generation of young people in history, 1.8 billion. India is the second-most populous nation and has approximately 52% of its population under the age of 20. This is an extremely rare and momentous phase of the world demographic cycle, only if the global community works to realize the cumulative potential of the youth that every country possesses. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – Agenda 2030 is one such attempt to drive the youth to take collective action. To achieve this, we all must amplify our efforts considering the evolving challenges that society is facing nowadays. 

As I charted through my career, there have been several things that I have realized over time. The making of a sustainable leader doesn’t happen overnight. There have been days of learning, re-learning, and understanding my strengths and weaknesses coupled with various experiments. For anyone who aspires to be a leader tomorrow, I can guarantee that the process isn’t an easy one, but it is rather fulfilling. Over time, I have also come to understand how future leaders of tomorrow need support and mentorship if they wish to make path-breaking journeys for themselves. As we brace ourselves for a post-pandemic world overflowing with a multitude of challenges, there are some examples from my life experience that I would be happy to share with our budding leaders of tomorrow, in hope that these may help them in whichever way they can. 

As we know, the youth today are at the centre of the world stage. With the world growing at a faster pace than ever, the younger generation must prepare to find a passion that resonates with them the most and makes an impact for the good of their surroundings. To ensure this, I suggest the readers keep a check on their ‘Skill-List’, which includes:

Finding the right sense of purpose

Picking the right sense of purpose has a lot to do with learning from your environment and mentors. Every aspiring future leader should be aware of events happening around them as well as in the world. They must make informed career and non-career choices, which is often possible if you have the right mentors around you. You may also pick mentors who bring out the best in you and help you grow. 

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Prioritize theory and practice

You must be loyal to your sense of purpose, as that is what will keep you motivated throughout your life. To master it, one needs to prioritize both the normative and empirical aspects of it. Pursuing the subject of your interest and gaining experience in the same field through volunteering, internships, research projects, and group discussions helps to build on your profile and makes you job ready. You could also venture down the path of innovation and start-ups to bring out the best solutions to everyday problems around you. 

Sustainable leadership

The right career path is not the one that gives you the highest salary package, but it is the right models of development that assure you a larger impact on society, both in terms of financial stability as well as sustainable goals. It is important to assess your efforts after every six months and see whether your time and devotion to something is helping to uplift society or not. If it isn’t, then one might need to reconsider the choices they have made. 

This ‘Skill-List’ is essentially a tool for measuring youth development in terms of sustainable growth. This alone, however, will not ensure an empowered and stable world society. The younger generation that is now ready to take over global institutions must be flexible and adaptable to change and must reform the old ways that hamper growth. We are witnessing breakthroughs in technology, healthcare, and education almost every day. Now is the right time to invest in yourself and become the leader of tomorrow. 


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