On August 12th 2022, Candid and The International Social Impact Institute launched The Inaugural Youth Giving Summit on International Youth Day, bringing together three distinguished speakers from different parts of the world, for a discussion about inspiration with a focus on their unique stories. The Summit builds on the Youth Giving movement, launched by Candid five years ago. During the Summit, the speakers each shared insightful details about their individual paths, and what inspired them to be so committed to improving the lives of others, both in their communities and around the world.
Nelson Mandela once said “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” but today’s youth are proving to be the leaders of today, responding to many large and complicated global challenges. The International Social Impact Institute aims to inspire, connect, activate, and transform, by providing access to networks that will enable individuals and organizations to build an ecosystem of like-minded stakeholders and collaborate. Such an ecosystem serves as a platform to highlight youth giving, and create a sense of community focused on youth causes.
Anne Mei Chang, CEO of Candid, hosted the session, introducing Candid’s philanthropic Youth Initiative and it’s centerpiece, YouthGiving.org, now part of the The International Social Impact Institute. Elizabeth Ngonzi moderated the discussion, which highlighted speakers Professor Muhammad Yunus (2006 Nobel Peace Laureate, Founder, Grameen Bank), Dr. Siyabulela Mandela, PHD (Regional Project Manager East and Southern Africa, Journalists For Human Rights), and Mohaiminul Raqib (Founder, BIHDP/Member, 3ZERO Club). Each speaker discussed their own journey and personal inspiration, with insightful recommendations for how to engage and empower the youth of today.
Speaker Contributions: Professor Muhammad Yunus
Professor Muhammad Yunus is a civil society leader and truly inspirational figure, with awe-inspiring credentials like the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. He founded the Grameen Bank, and is considered by many to be the father of social business and micro-credit, ideas that continue to benefit millions of people around the world.
When asked about his biggest challenges and how he overcame them, Professor Yunus discussed the mindset of people, and how many people already have their minds made up. As an example, he recounted the difficulty he faced challenging the incumbent banking rules and systems in order to create microcredit. Professor Yunus is devoted to solving problems, and he believes that poverty is not created by the poor, it is created by the systems in place.
Professor Yunus described his vision for a world of 3 zeros. The 3 Zero Club is an aspirational goal for a world of zero net carbon emission, zero wealth concentration to end poverty, and zero unemployment, by unleashing entrepreneurship in all.
Professor Yunus believes the youth of today can have find inspiration to change the world by:
- Finding someone you admire, understanding their story, how they grew up, and what keeps them going
- Learning the struggles of others, and figuring out how their challenges coincide with your own
Professor Yunus ended the conversation with words of inspiration for today’s youth “Nothing is impossible for a human being. All we have to do is make up our mind. We have the power, let’s use the power.”
Speaker Contributions: Dr. Siyabulela Mandela, PHD
Dr. Siyabulea Mandela, great-grandson of the late Nelson Mandela, and Regional Project Manager for East and Southern Africa at Journalists for Human Rights, spoke of his life as a history and political science student, and what inspired him to fight against injustice. When asked where he draws his own inspiration from, he discussed being inspired by previous generations. Dr. Mandela pointed out that despite all the challenges of the previous generations, people still set out to confront the issues of their time and push for progress. He continues to be inspired by the collective power of previous generations, and their resilience in taking on injustice, coming together, and working together for change.
Dr. Mandela urges the youth of today to focus on:
- Pushing back against injustice, e.g., oppression and racism. We have greater resources available to us than past generations had; more must be done
- Challenging yourself; it’s important to be brave, and get out of one’s own comfort zone. How can we change the world if we do not step out of our comfort zone?
Speaker Contributions: Mr. Mohaiminual Raqib
Mr. Mohaiminual Raqib, founder of BIHDP and a member of the Zero 30 Club, shared his personal story and where he finds his inspiration. Mr. Raqib shared that he lost his father as a child, and he understands poverty, especially what it feels like to not have opportunity. He learned from his supportive mother, who encouraged him to always strive for better. He spoke of the importance of community, and the recognition that we are all interconnected. Mr. Raqib grew from sharing his own story with others who were also suffering. He is inspired often by the stories of marginalized people.
Mr. Raqib shared the following advice for young people today:
- Learn from the experience of others. Sharing your personal story and connecting will allow for much greater understanding
- Leverage community, and work together to solve larger problems
- Ease the suffering; Work to understand the suffering of others, learn their life story, learn how similar things have caused suffering for past generations, and help. What are you doing to help those who are suffering right now?
Hearing from these speakers, and witnessing the profound impact that today’s youth can have on the world, proves the youth of today are in fact the leaders of today.
This high-impact session discussed how to catalyze the impact of young people globally, focusing on the power of inspiration with three prominent speakers: Professor Muhammad Yunus, Dr. Siyabulela, and Mohaiminul Raqib. Each speaker offered encouraging stories of personal inspiration, coupled with real, actionable advice for today’s youth to continue driving change. On a collective note, the speakers tell the youth of today to never stop believing in yourselves, to understand that developing is a process, and to “Just do it.” The speakers ended with the sentiment that as young people, it is possible to be the change we need. As Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.”