Jamaicans elected to Commonwealth Youth Council executive
Jamaican Tijani Christian has been elected to chair the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) for the 2018-2020 period. Another Jamaican, Michelle Thomas, was elected to the executive as representative for special interest groups.
Christian, 26, has served in a number of youth leadership capacities including as Jamaica's youth ambassador to the Commonwealth; special adviser to the National Youth Council of Jamaica (2014-2016); president of the UWISTAT Vice Chancellor's Ambassador Corps, Mona Chapter (2014); and member of the CARICOM Single Market & Economy Spokesperson Bureau.
Thomas, an attorney-at-law, has served on Jamaica's Youth Advisory Council and is a past student of the St Andrew High School for Girls and the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, where she obtained her Bachelor of Laws degree. During her tenure at university, she was elected to serve on the Guild of Students (the student governing body) as a result of her strong leadership and interpersonal skills. She was also awarded a co-curricular scholarship based on her involvement and leadership capabilities at the university level.
Both Christian and Thomas honed their leadership skills through programmes run by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
"All our representatives truly flew our flag high and displayed some of the best qualities of Jamaican youth. They have made their county and region proud, and I celebrate them. Special congratulations to Tijani and Michelle, who I know will provide stellar service to the CYC and will leave an indelible mark. The ministry stands ready to assist," said Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Youth, in congratulating Christian and Thomas.
The Commonwealth Youth Council was established in 2013 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Commonwealth Youth Programme. It was endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at that year's summit in Sri Lanka as an "autonomous, youth-led organisation" to advocate on behalf of over two billion young people in the Commonwealth.
The council is led by a nine-member executive serving a two-year term and acts as a coalition of national youth councils and other youth-led civil society and private-sector bodies from across the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth.
The highest decision making body for the CYC is the General Assembly, and it is made up of national youth delegates representing national youth councils from each member state and youth-led organisations. The CYC represents young people in international decision-making processes, including at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at the UN and with national governments.