About the programme
The RBC Young Leaders Programme dates back to 1981. It began as an essay-writing competition where candidates wrote about the importance of savings. By 1984 the programme broadened its scope to encourage community development, challenging students to implement sustainable projects that would benefit their respective communities. This was followed by two name changes—Star Class in 1988 and Young Leaders in 1990. By 2002, another component, the Young Leaders Debates, was introduced to provide a forum for students to build and improve public-speaking skills.
The mandate of Young Leaders is “to help young people develop leadership skills, appreciate teamwork in the pursuit of a common goal, foster care for the community and the environment, promote thrift toward strengthening the social, moral, and economic well-being of the community and implement sustainable programmes that have meaningful and wide-ranging impact.”
Today, the programme has expanded to touch the lives of young people in Antigua, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts/Nevis and St. Lucia. The programme is open to secondary schools students in forms three and four.
The 2013/2014 theme
Diversity…the 21st Century Imperative
Last year, RBC challenged our Young Leaders to become agents of change by positively influencing the social issues affecting youth. The need to promote a global culture of respect for diversity and inclusion emerged from that project, and this year, RBC invites you to become champions of diversity in your communities.
Diversity is any element that differentiates one person or group from another. The dimensions of diversity include ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, education, religion, socio-economic background, heritage, ideology, political belief, values and the list goes on.
Becoming a true champion of diversity requires inclusion—respect for, acceptance and appreciation of our differences and unique abilities. At RBC, we believe that encouraging diversity is not only the nice thing to do, but it‘s the right thing to do, and recognise that the stability of our business is derived from the varied backgrounds of our workforce.
Now that you understand the meaning of diversity and inclusion, ask yourself, “Which dimension(s) of diversity face the most challenges to inclusion in my school or community?”
Your challenge: Become a true champion of diversity by working with your classmates to create a sustainable programme to address an agreed dimension, and achieve inclusion in your chosen environment. In so doing, develop strategies and tools to support persons affected and effect change in the attitudes, behaviours and actions of others.
Make your school or community a more inclusive, nurturing environment, where each person can feel safe, valued, respected and achieve his or her full potential!
Use the opportunities that will arise throughout the course of your Young Leaders project to expand your way of thinking. In the words of Deepak Chopra,” Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”
Diversity is the 21st century imperative. Become a diversity champion today!