From A Bangladeshi Delegate
On September 17, 2011, six young delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka met for the first time in Washington DC to attend the 'World Bank & IMF Annual Meetings 2011.' Though the delegates belonged to different nations (I was one of the delegates), they had a lot in common; their aim and drive for socio-economic progress and development in their respective countries and regions and the strong belief that South Asian youth are capable of bringing about positive changes.
The meetings kicked off with the orientation sessions held by the World Bank (WB) and IMF, separately. Through these sessions we got a better understanding of how the organisations work and how they have evolved with time. We also got the opportunity to get introduced with delegates from the African and Arab Middle Eastern regions. During the sessions with the WB and IMF staff, we not only shared our thoughts on various socio-economic issues, but also clarified our concerns by questioning them.
One of the sessions that I personally enjoyed the most was the 'Think Equal Open Forum' that consisted of an expert panel including Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, Maria Eitel, CEO at Nike Foundation and others. We were also shown videos of women, messages from participants around the world and listened to the debates on what the crucial factors to promote gender equality should be. The meetings were not only informative but thought-provoking as well.
However, the most exciting session would have to be the South Asian youth delegation meeting with the World Bank South Asian Region Vice President, Country Directors and other high officials. We had the opportunity to speak and share our thoughts and insights on key youth related issues in the region with them. Prior to this meeting, we had a session with the World Bank South Asian region staff, where we showcased our youth related development activities and discussed ways to involve youth in the development process. At the end of these sessions, what became apparent to all of us delegates, especially to the South Asian youth delegates, is that despite the economic , social or political conditions of our nations, when it comes to youth related issues, our problems are alike, and our aspirations are the same.
The two main events of the day were the launching of the 'More & Better Jobs in South Asia' flagship and 'Ensuring Nutrition & Food Security for Results in South Asia'. Both these sessions helped us to get a look into where our countries stood as well as where we are as a region.
'The World Bank & IMF Annual Meetings 2011' was an exciting week for us delegates. Not only has it given us the inspiration to pursue greater work in our countries and regions, but it has transformed the six youth delegates from the six countries to one South Asian Youth Delegation, working together in hopes of attaining a better tomorrow for our countries and for the world.
(The author is an MSS student at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka.)