Five young leaders with inspiring policy ideas on how to make Nigeria and the world a better place have been selected out of eleven finalists for the third cohort of the British Council Future Leaders Connect programme.
The eleven finalists were invited from a pool of over 6,000 applications from Nigeria to pitch their policy ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience at a selection event which took place recently at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos.
Each finalist gave a five-minute presentation explaining why their innovative idea will improve some of the world’s greatest challenges while proving their leadership abilities to influence this desired change.
The panel of Judges at this year’s selection event were: Stephen Forbes, Acting Country Director, British Council Nigeria; Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Port Authority and Edwin Ikhuoria, Senior Advisor to the Africa Executive Director for Policy and Advocacy at the ONE Campaign. The finalists were judged against a set of fair and transparent criteria which were; relevance of policy, clarity and presentation, and leadership quality.
Some of the policy ideas presented at the heat event were gender equality, poverty alleviation, access to basic quality healthcare, end to indiscriminate waste management, conversion of health and education into political currency, integration of forcibly displaced persons into the society with dignity, amongst others.
The 2019 winners who will be travelling to the UK in October to join a global network of emerging policy leaders are; Toluwalola Kasali, Stanley Azuakola, Shola Dele-Olowu, Firdausi Umar Sadiq and Elizabeth Chinenyewa Nwarueze.
Future Leaders Connect is the British Council’s long-term global network of emerging policy leaders. Exceptional young leaders (aged 18-35) are identified through a vigorous application process and they demonstrate their potential to make the world a better place.
At the programme, the young leaders are trained on how to develop their policy-making expertise and gain the skills to make genuine impact.
All Future Leaders Connect members come together in the UK where they are provided with an advanced policy and leadership development programme at the Møller Institute, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, combined with access to the UK Houses of Parliament, private meetings with inspirational leaders and visits to renowned institutions.
Members of Future Leaders Connect develop a deep understanding into the policy challenges faced by those from different countries and environments. Their international learning equips them with a variety of leadership styles, methods, as well as contemporary policy insights. Following their time in the UK, they are equipped with worldwide connections and policy action plans to help them fulfil their ambitions in their countries and beyond.
Countries currently involved in the programme include Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Tunisia, UK and USA. For the thousands of aspirant young leaders who apply to the programme but do not get selected, they are invited to join the Future Leaders Connect Community where they can access a range of free online professional development policy and leadership resources. To ensure equal access, the costs of taking part are covered by the British Council and the programme is fully accessible
While commenting at this year’s event, Stephen Forbes, Acting Country Director British Council Nigeria and one of the Judges stated that, “We are committed to developing a new generation of young leaders in Nigeria and around the world through the Future Leaders Connect programme equipping them with practical policy and leadership expertise by putting them in contact with leaders of today and international contacts to make positive change in their country and beyond. The British Council has been working with Nigeria since 1944. In 2019, we are marking this 75th anniversary with a series of events celebrating cultural relations and exchange between the UK and Nigeria.”
Further speaking on the programme, Adetomi Soyinka, Director Higher Education, Skills and Enterprise British Council Nigeria, said “The Future Leaders Connect programme continues to empower young leaders with skills and leadership for policy-making, In just three year of the programme’s existence, we have recorded strong impact following the programme from participants such Blessing Omakwu, Olaoluwa Abagun, Nwamaka Ogbonna, Dolapo Olaniyan, Oluwaseun Osowobi amongst others.”