The President and CEO’s Notebook: What is The IDEA?

As part of YADL’s commitment to connecting young professionals through strategic global partnerships, I recently participated in the first official convening of the International Diplomatic Engagement Association. IDEA brings together the 20 non-profit organizations around the world that annually participate in G8 and G20 youth programming.

The initial framework for IDEA was discussed and agreed upon last summer. Under YADL’s leadership, IDEA’s members adopted new principles during the G8 & G20 Youth Summits in Washington to anchor and advance our mission and vision. YADL also continued its track record of stewardship by facilitating the induction of UNAJE–the National Union of Young Argentine Entrepreneurs–into IDEA.

Together, these recent developments launched our collective work into a new process which culminated in mid-February on the sidelines of the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum in Russia. YADL and our IDEA partners were graciously invited to attend the tenth annual forum by our Russian counterparts, the J8 Club.

KEF convened Russian government officials including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Vice Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as well as Krasnoyarsk Krai governor Lev Kusnetsov around the theme of a new roadmap of change for Russia. Private sector and civil society leaders, including students and young professionals in the “Generation 2020” track, also participated in KEF for three days of conversations on open government initiatives.

The 25 representatives of IDEA also had the opportunity to meet with Mikhail Abyzov, minister for open government affairs, and Pekka Viljakainen, senior advisor at the Skolkovo Foundation, to discuss social entrepreneurship and youth engagement in Russia. The conversations resulted in a dynamic exchange of best practices from each G20 country.

IDEA representatives also spent a day planning for the upcoming Y8 in London, United Kingdom and Y20 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Most importantly, the 20 organizations outlined the next steps for further consolidation of IDEA and initiated strategic planning for the global group.

There is a lot of exciting work at YADL. These projects only enhance YADL’s ability to empower young leaders through global programs that provide access and exposure to international relations. Together with IDEA, YADL will continue to provide meaningful and impactful opportunities for young professionals while building a global community committed to service.

Carlos Reyes is President and CEO of YADL.