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Address at the Closing of Youth Leadership Training for Central Division at the Commissioner Central’s Conference Room on 2 May 2017 at 3.30pm

Commissioner Central Division;
Representatives from Government Ministries and departments;
Our partners – staff of USP and training facilitators;
Youth trainees;
Invited guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good afternoon and Bula Vinaka to you all. It is always good to be back on familiar territory. Time really flies and it feels like yesterday when I used to walk down the corridors of this building as Commissioner Central. I am glad for the opportunity to be here and to close this training.

Thanks for the words of welcome. I must acknowledge USP and the partnership developing between the Ministry and USP, targeting our young people. This relationship certainly will grow and I am optimistic that it will become popular amongst youth members and clubs.

I also acknowledge the youth trainees from the Rewa province and their commitment to this training. You have now joined 40 other youths from the Eastern Division who have completed this training and gained accreditation from USP as trained leaders. More young leaders from the Western Division will soon attend the same training.

The Ministry envisages producing young leaders through such empowerment and capacity building training, to inspire you to take meet the challenges around you, to identify how you can effectively lead in your community.

I hope that you have taken advantage of this training and engaged in meaningful dialogue and activities. I hope that you can push beyond your boundaries and recognise that we can affect positive changes in our communities.

As Government and the Ministry, we are looking to harness your ability to work together with people of all backgrounds; to align such leadership development as a tool for you to create positive change in your community. Such training will motivate you to take action for the common good.

Yesterday, I was in Nadi to open the Messengers of Peace Networking Workshop for Scout Leaders across the nation. I reminded teachers who are ‘Messengers of Peace’ that as leaders and teachers, they should actively promote and teach respect for other races and genders and positively influence our social relationships and tolerance amongst Scouts around Fiji.

As I do to you, I emphasised the need to promote equal citizenry in scout clubs, schools and communities as Government envisages Fiji being a socially cohesive and peaceful society. As leaders, we champion issues critical to our national interest and growth.

Youth leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen, in 2013, through its new Constitution, Fiji began a journey of eliminating discrimination, an illogical but learned distinction between one person and another. Our nation has established the fundamental principle that we are all equal citizens of one nation; we are all Fijians.

I am proud that the Youth and Sports Ministry has taken on the mammoth task of promoting social cohesion, tolerance, inclusion, equity and a basic appreciation of human rights especially towards women and children. We believe that by promoting equal citizenry, we are building a united society. Through supporting such leadership programs and partnerships, we will harness long-term sustainable prosperity based on mutual respect in our diverse community.

I hope that your ability to lead and the quality of your leadership will improve your youth clubs and community. With proper, dedicated and visionary leadership, you will experience great progress. I believe you will lead with dedication and vision while also training and empowering your friends and colleagues to become excellent leaders. Stand up and speak out, guard your character, it is one of the greatest assets a person can have, [not paid] based on universal principle.

Young people are leaders of tomorrow. To become tomorrow’s leader, be a diligent follower today. It is our responsibility as a Ministry to facilitate the future you envisage for yourselves. Young people carry forward our culture, traditions, values, ideologies and aspirations as well as adapting these to the here and now as our nation develops. As leaders, we must encourage you to articulate your vision and we must contribute to the future with and for our young people. Be strong in the moment of choice, choose wrong, you and others will suffer the consequences, choose right, you and others receive the benefits and positive results.

Leadership is the quality possessed by someone that allows that person to lead a group of people taking note of everyone’s opinions but sometimes making difficult decisions. Leaders consult, delegate and make wise choices in the interests of the greater good. They have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They value the opinions of those he or she leads.

I trust that you have sharpened your leadership skills during this training and you will all return home better leaders. I now have the pleasure to declare this training closed.

Vinaka. Thank you.