YLC started as a dream – a dream which Shireen Naqvi saw in 2001. She shared it with me (Kamran Rizvi Kambha), with Saima Khan, others in our team (at that time we were working in KZR), and with her family and her close circle of contacts.
Shireen’s vision and conviction in the idea was very compelling, and so I joined forces with her, as did many others. What turned me on was the fact that this would be the first venture of its kind in Pakistan in which our youth would come together to learn about themselves and others, and broaden their mental canvas by listening to and engaging with prominent personalities from a variety of disciplines. This would help them become effective and inspiring leaders in their respective spheres of influence. What I also found attractive was YLC’s potential impact in the coming years, through the power of word-of-mouth, to spread hope and positivity in all corners of our country.
This initiative was at first very challenging. It involved engaging our diverse youth (aged 18-24 – male and female) from different socio-economic backgrounds and from all over Pakistan. They had no idea what YLC was and what practical benefit they could derive from such a conference. Collaborating and building partnerships with key stakeholders which included the government, corporate sponsors, philanthropists, colleges, universities and parents was yet another challenge. Our collective belief in what the program could achieve and our unswerving faith in Allah, made YLC a resounding success.
Our first YLC kicked off in July 2002, and immediately after, School of Leadership (SoL) was born. SoL has since been organizing this flagship annual conference for the youth of Pakistan.
Eleven YLCs have been successfully concluded so far. We now have close to 3,000 YLC alumni from over 70 towns and cities from all provinces of Pakistan. Over 65 youth organizations have been launched by a number of YLC alumni in recent years, and through their inspiring efforts, we have indirectly impacted over a million individuals and their families in urban and rural Pakistan.
I feel honored to be alive to witness such a magnificent development program unfold. Youth development programs are now being led by our young leaders. Our future is brighter than ever before. Our youth is at last becoming wiser, more visionary, displaying greater responsibility, while embracing positive change with courage and discipline.
InshaAllah, YLCs will continue into the future, making a huge difference in the way we live, lead and govern ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. By KAMRAN RIZVI (a.k.a., Kambha)