Kishva elected as Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council

Chevening Scholar, Kishva Ambigapathy, has been selected as chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), an association of young people from 53 countries that act as the official representative voice of 1.2 billion young people in the Commonwealth.

Kishva, who is from Malaysia and studies MSc Global Politics at Durham University, was installed as chair at the Commonwealth Youth Forum, which ran alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta.

The CYC, which began in 2013, is the largest and most diverse youth-led organisation in the world. Kishva, leading the Council’s nine-strong executive team, is responsible for advocating on behalf of young people and further advancing the youth development agenda.

‘The Commonwealth Youth Council will focus on engaging and empowering young people,’ Kishva said. ‘The strategic outcome of the Youth Forum looks at young people being more integrated, valued and enabled to contribute to the political, social, economic and environment agenda.’ Kishva went on to admit that, owing to economic, social, and political instability worldwide,  he expected the next three years to be a challenging time for the youth of the Commonwealth.

As his first task as chair, Kishva presented the recommendations and outcomes of the Commonwealth Youth Forum at CHOGM in Malta. CHOGM was attended by leaders including the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Guyana, David Granger, and Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Leaders at CHOGM discussed the global crisis of unemployment, climate change, and terrorism. Kishva, who met HRH The Prince of Wales and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon amongst other dignitaries, urged established leaders to collaborate with young people in creating solutions to such problems.

‘Every time a new generation rises up, it is faced with the challenges of shaping a world that protects our rights and identities. We discussed combatting extremism through advocacy, capacity building to raise awareness of climate change mitigation, and youth entrepreneurship. Our main priority is to deliver the strategic outcomes of the Commonwealth Youth Forum.’

Having returned to his studies at Durham University, Kishva reflects on how his Chevening experience can support him in his new role: ‘The Chevening experience plays an integral role in my undertaking my new responsibilities. Chevening, through its various workshops and events, not only builds my capacity and exposes me to effective global governance, but also enables me to meet and network with young people from across the Commonwealth and beyond.’