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Fourth LEAD Summit Virtually Convenes Asia’s Young Democracy Leaders

August 5, 2021

The following is a joint web story by the International Republican Institute, the United States Agency for International Development, World Learning, and the United States Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.   

On July 24-25, The International Republican Institute, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development and World Learning, held its fourth annual LEAD Alliance Summit, for emerging leaders from Mongolia, Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.  

The event is part of the Leaders Advancing Democracy in Mongolia (LEAD) initiative that aims to strengthen Mongolia’s position as a beacon of democracy in Asia and cultivate the next generation of democracy champions by hosting educational exchanges and programs between young leaders in Mongolia and their regional peers, with a focus on the key policy issues of urbanization, poverty alleviation, anti-corruption, and environmental degradation.  

Each year, the LEAD Alliance Summit provides an opportunity for democracy-minded leaders to connect and collaborate. During this year’s summit, 60 LEAD Mongolia Fellows and 30 LEAD Alliance Fellows networked while strengthening their capacity for leadership and civic activism through participation in engaging virtual sessions.  

U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Michael S. Klecheski commenced the summit with introductory remarks, followed by a panel discussion on Mongolia’s peaceful democratic transition featuring former President of Mongolia Elbegdorj Tsakhia and former Member of Parliament Undraa Agyaanluvsan.  

Throughout the conference, LEAD Fellows learned from numerous other speakers in government, civil society, and business about the important roles that leaders across different sectors can play in advancing democracy and good governance. Participants also heard from past and present LEAD fellows through inspirational panel discussions and “lightning talks.” Fellows were further equipped to enact positive change in their communities through technical training sessions on project impact and sustainability. In the spirit of leadership and change, LEAD Alliance Fellows also shared their recent experiences and lessons learned with applying for small grants under the program and implementing innovative projects that address the development needs of their communities.   

To conclude the two-day summit, attendees adopted the LEAD Alliance Declaration encouraging the emerging leaders to see their potential as democracy champions both at home and in the region and engage as a functional network of young changemakers.  

When delivering the Summit’s welcome remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Michael S. Klecheski congratulated the LEAD Fellows on their accomplishments throughout the program, which has included community projects, virtual exchanges, and technical workshops: “your involvement in this program is just the beginning, so we all hope that you will utilize this experience to engage more with your communities for years to come. You are well positioned to shape your countries future. I hope very much that you seize that opportunity.”