By: Gael T. Rutembesa
It’s a new day and the sun dawned on what proves to be a promising week ahead. The YouLead Summit began today and the sounds of excited youth from all over East Africa filled the MS-TCDC in Arusha, Tanzania.
To kick off the day, after a time of communion as the delegates got to know each other better over breakfast, they gathered at the main venue/tent for an official introduction and availed the respective countries they hail from. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were already trending then as social media enthusiasts from each country started documenting the moments using #YouLead17.
Briefly interrupting the activities, before the arrival of the summit director and other official speakers, was a brief birthday celebration for one of Kenya’s delegates, to whom all sang.
Shortly after, Mr. Ivan Atuyambe, the summit director made the introductions as the YouLead summit officially started. Everybody stood up in solidarity as the Tanzanian, and the East African anthems were sang. Despite the blue papers containing the lyrics to the East African anthem, very few needed them as it was evident that they were familiar to the delegates.
As they settled, the principal of MS-TCDC, Ezra Mbogori, took to the pulpit where he gently urged and encouraged the youth to take their stand as leaders, emphasizing that it was time to do so, and challenged them to rise to the occasion.
Peter Owada, DSW Tanzania Country Director was next with an encouragement to the youth to not only learn throughout the week, but also enjoy the process, which the delegates seem to be doing already.
To finish off the opening statements, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister in charge of Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labor, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Honorable Antony Mavunde wished the youth a wonderful, engaging, thought provoking summit.
The opening ceremony was concluded with entertainment from Makumira Cultural Art Center, who performed traditional songs and dances. All in sync were fine vocals, African drums and percussion, whistles and the African flute, spreading ground shaking vibes that engaged their audience who joined them with hand claps and vocals of their own.
It’s safe to say that the summit started off well, with the spirit of unity undoubtedly hovering among the youth of East Africa. They recognize themselves as one. They are East Africans. They are the leaders of tomorrow.
Photos by: Fahad Fuad