US promotes young leadership

THE United States says leaders must always endeavour to give back to the communities they serve and represent and has encouraged young Zambians to take up the challenge of taking up leadership roles at various levels in communities.

US youngest-ever mayor Raul Reyes said it was important to empower young people to take up leadership roles because the development of any country in the world depended on their participation at community, corperate and national levels.

Mr Reyes, who is 31 and in Zambia to promote the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme, said the future economic development of respective countries across the globe was anchored in developing the young generation.

The US government has been through President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) been offering leadership training through the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme to 21 young Zambians who have since returned to the country. The United States has since announced the opening of the application process for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme which commences from October 7.

Mr Reyes, who is the mayor of El Cenizo in Texas, said leadership was not only provided using the political platform and that there was need to bridge the gap between those already in leadership and those aspiring to lead at all levels.

He said one did not need to be a politician to provide leadership adding that the greatest leaders were those who did not seek for public attention.

Mr Reyes said Zambia has had monumental successes in the last 50 years and that he was amazed by hospitality of the Zambian people.

He said it was important for the younger generation to aspire to serve in any position in all sectors such as commerce, business administration as well as the financial sector.

“It is important to empower young people to take up leadership roles at all levels. The future of respective countries in the world depends on the participation of young people and I thank President Obama for having come up with YALI,

“We must learn the importance of never giving up no matter how many times we are told we cannot do it. We must at all times aspire to provide quality and effective leadership for the people we represent. I have had the privilege of representing my country at the time of need,” Mr Reyes said.

Mr Reyes said it was an honour to represent his community, state and country in Zambia and to share his story, experience and involvement in public service at such a young age.   And US Charge d ‘Affaires to Zambia David Young said in order to support the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme, the US  was encouraging engagement of young leadership, mentorship and the community..

Mr Young said many of the fellows trained by the US had already started implementing projects using the knowledge they acquired during the six weeks they spent at various American universities.