In October, 2015, Generation Democracy hosted its first event outside the U.S. in Dakar, Senegal and brought together 45 young leaders from the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal for a collaborative conference and advocacy skills workshop.  

Generation Democracy, IRI’s youth initiative, is a global coalition of young people and more than 200 youth organizations in 67 countries around the globe that engages, empowers, and connects youth across borders to share their ideas, experiences, and best practices on youth political participation in order to cultivate the world’s next generation of democratic leaders.  A primary goal of Generation Democracy is to highlight the voices of our members, who are working tirelessly to expand the political rights of young people around the globe.  One of our amazing members is Mr. Kehinde Ibiteye, a young man who is heavily involved in Nigeria’s civil society and a professional “Youth Business Accelerator” for the Next Generation Summit Group in Abuja, Nigeria.

Please read the interview below as the second entry to our new campaign to tell the stories of our members, “Meet the Future.”

What is the name of the youth-focused organization that you are a part of?

Kehinde: Next Generation Nigeria Summit/Group (Facebook) – [“Next Generation Nigeria Summit is the single largest gathering of young Nigerians, established for the sustenance of a yearly inter-generational dialogue aimed at debating the future of young people. It is Young Nigerian’s Plan for PROSPERITY!”]

Next Generation Nigeria Summit Group has also initiated partnership discussions with IRI’s Nigeria country office to collaborate in hosting the 2016 Next Generation Summit.  Next Generation hopes to hold a forum on Youth, Democracy and Good Governance by the second quarter of 2016.

What initiatives has your organization taken part in that you are most proud of?

Kehinde: There are many:

What is your vision for your country’s future?

Kehinde: Nigeria has had a long history of dwindling fortunes socially, economically and politically. This is largely blamed on bad leadership.  My vision for Nigeria’s future is to have a country where social justice is guaranteed for all: A country where the rights of the individual (citizenry) are fully entrenched as spelt out by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A country that will guide the entire continent on the path towards true democracy. Achieving these requires collaborative effort with future leaders – youth.

How can youth achieve that vision?

Kehinde: No vision is ever achieved out of an illusion; time and resources are required. However, we hope to achieve this by developing institutions whose mandate is to mold the minds of our future leaders.  We hope to promote the [new] era of youth leadership for Nigeria and Africa by building their individual capacity to be community leaders and to help increase their knowledge of leadership roles and responsibilities. I believe this will help youth to achieve that vision.   

What is your initiative doing to achieve that vision?

Kehinde: To achieve this vision, Next Generation Summit Group has established its membership and presence with various youth networks both locally and internationally. By doing this, we share our values and an ethos of leadership within the youth networks we partner with.

Why is bringing youth together from around the world important?

Kehinde:  [So that they are able] to share their experiences and learn from the success story of others.

How can youth change the world?

Kehinde:  They can do this when they speak in one voice and share common interest.

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