Sustainability through Partnership was the message delivered by Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock before declaring the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Americas regional Conference opened at the Marriot Hotel, Kingston on Monday.
The Duke of Edinburgh International Award has been rebranded the “Presidents Youth Award Republic of Guyana”.
Representatives are meeting to develop a Global Strategy for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award 2018 – 2023 with the aim of reaching as many young people as possible globally.
The Foundation is looking to complete the Global Strategy Document for publishing in January 2018.
Minister Allicock in his remarks said “you’re gathering here from across the Americas and I believe that if we could use the power of reasoning to be that guiding light, it can help us to have this wonderful group of young people to be able to be developers and that sustainable driving force of our people within the Americas and who knows we can be an example to the entire world”.
The Minister said he is hopeful that “we can be able to all benefit from the suggestions that will make us a stronger people that will make our communities united that will make us more not competitive as such, but supportive. I know in the industrial world it is more about competition but we in the hinterland believe in supporting one another”.
The Minister also took the opportunity to promote Guyana’s thriving tourism sector with specific mention of the giants that can be found here including the ant eater, the largest fresh water scale fish the Arapaima, the giant anaconda, the Harpy eagle and the Iwokrama International Center for Rainforest Conservation.
General Secretary of the Foundation John May has expressed optimism on the future of the planet given the fact that young people globally has seen it fitting to make positive contributions in this regard.
“What is fascinating to see is that we have a generation of young people joining the award now, joining the activities we hope to facilitate, who are not driven by saying the what’s in it for me question but by the question of what’s in it for society, what’s in it for us, what’s in it for our planet so Minister, your words about cooperation and collaboration I think are absolutely appropriate” May emphasized.
Referring to the “Giants” Minister Allicock spoke of, May noted that another giant can be added to that catalogue in that “it’s not just an anaconda but also the thoughts that we can have and if over the next two or three days we as a group of leaders who are helping to imbue in the next generation of leaders great thoughts we can have giant thoughts and aspirations then our young people can do anything”.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award which is the world’s leading youth achievement award has been running for the past sixty years in more than 140 countries and territories around the world has equipped and empowered in excess of 1.3 million young people to transform their lives, become active and emerge as leaders of tomorrow.
The program was introduced in Guyana in 1998 with the first batch receiving bronze awards in 1999. To date close to fifty thousand young people have benefited in the areas of vocational skills, Community Service enrichment, Physical Education and building Team Work capabilities.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Alfred King who joined the program from its inception said “the award is bigger than saying it is a thing for young people it. It is a total package or experience provided to transition young people successfully from adolescent into adulthood making them productive, positive citizens and in so doing causing them to use their leisure time wisely based on their own abilities, levels and maturity to pursue these activities”.
Government and private sector responses have been commendable as they both work in unison to equipping the nation’s young people with the essential tools necessary to motivate them during that critical transition process, of which they are rewarded.
The program has also seen close to forty leaders adequately trained annually to deliver rich supervision to the young people.
Guyana was unmatched as it relates to voluntary work in spreading awareness on HIV/AIDS Prevention. One such program was “HIV/AIDS Edutainment” where Government and Non-Governmental organizations ramped up awareness through campaigns such as dance, poetry, drama, radio programs among others.
The three-day conference concluded yesterday.