33Fifty BlogYoung leaders from around the Commonwealth gathered in Scotland for the RCS and Common Purpose’s 33Fifty – The Commonwealth Young Leadership Programme. Almost 100 participants from 31 Commonwealth countries were present for an inspirational 4-day experience.

The programme brought together 18-25 year olds from all corners of the globe for a cross cultural experience, enabling them to use the Commonwealth’s networks more effectively. The aim was to develop their leadership skills thereby helping them in their studies, careers and civic life, and supporting them to become a force for progress throughout the Commonwealth.

The name 33Fifty stems from the fact that 33% of the world’s population lives in the Commonwealth, and half of those are under 25. 33Fifty formed part of Glasgow 2014 Legacy programme running parallel to the Commonwealth Games.

The programme included a range of workshops, training sessions, speeches and immersion trips. There were contributors from a variety of organisations including the Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Council, the Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), British Red Cross, Comic Relief, Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Homeless World Cup, Price Waterhouse Cooper and many more.

Participants were grouped into teams who were asked ‘What role does the youth of the Commonwealth need to play in progress toward low-carbon economies?’ and set a challenge to develop a sustainability initiative that could work in Scotland and indeed in the wider Commonwealth. To help them prepare, teams split up and went on immersion visits to a range of organisations in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, including Green 2014, Scottish Parliament, Scottish Water, Pelamis Wave Power, Whitelee Wind Farms, Young Scot, Smarter Grid Solutions, Barclays, and the Scottish Chamber of Commerce.

On the final day, each team pitched their proposal to a panel of distinguished judges, who were very impressed with what they saw. The programme concluded in a reception with a powerful keynote address from Baroness Scotland, who told the young leaders that the opportunities for the Commonwealth are endless, if they all reach their potential.

Testimonies from 33Fifty participants (via Twitter)

“Feeling very lucky to have had met and worked with these inspirational leaders from across the Commonwealth.”

“The best way to end a fab 4 days at @33Fifty hearing from Baroness Scotland, such an inspirational woman #leadership.”

“Today, I can say that I have presented an idea that I am truly passionate about to 100 individuals. Thank you @33Fifty for helping me grow!”

“Great experience over the couple of days with @33Fifty. Time to put it all into practise. We need to be the change we want to see.”

“Hard to explain the @33Fifty experience, but for me it's been a game changer. Can't wait to see and hear what happens next.”