Leading by Example
Towfique Ahmad Khan is a Bangladeshi youth leader and activist whose initiative for regional peace and prosperity has spread throughout South Asia. With chapters in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, his organisation, South Asian Youth Society (SAYS), has become the envoy of youth activism for peace and community development in this region. The idea of forming a regional network of youth activists hit Towfique's mind when he was studying as a fellow of the Study of the US Institutes for Scholars programme.
“During the program I felt that Bangladesh and its rich cultural heritage, is not at all well represented. Very few efforts have been made to utilise the promising youth potential from South Asian countries,” Towfique shares.
After returning, Towfique visited educational institutes in different parts of Bangladesh to mobilise the youth for community development. When Towfique founded his organisation in 2008, he focused on civic education and training on active citizenship with the goal of ensuring youth empowerment, community development and, peace and prosperity in South Asia.
Thanks to Towfique's dedication, the message of SAYS for regional peace and prosperity has crossed Bangladesh's border. Besides supporting 1400 young volunteers in Bangladesh, the organisation has been running in five South Asian countries with at least 60 volunteers in each. Besides arranging training for capacity development, SAYS also organises national and international youth summits to increase youth participation in policy making.
From the very first years of university, Towfique has been working to build such a platform. He is now completing his Master's Degree. “As the son of a freedom fighter, I had the dream to maintain my father's legacy by contributing to my people,” he says. “It is the young generation now who will lead their country to its economic emancipation.”