Apply for this prestigious CIPE Youth Leadership Program

Deadline: 31st March 2021

Program Duration: April 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021 (4 months)

Stipend: Up to $2,500 USD for completing all the required activities

About the Youth Leadership Program

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, research conducted by think tanks and international bodies such as the OECD and G20 has established that young people have been disproportionately impacted by the economic, political, and social crises that have resulted from the pandemic. In particular, sudden changes in access to education and employment opportunities have put youth on a much more volatile trajectory. Finding and maintaining quality jobs and improving access to training and formal education for youth will be a crucial component of post-COVID-19 rebuilding globally. Youth now represent 16% of the world population and a majority of the population in the 48 least developed countries. Yet young people are rarely brought meaningfully into policy processes that affect their lives. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) believes that youth can – and should – be engaged as key stakeholders to build more resilient and inclusive democracies and markets to enable post-COVID recovery.

Building on CIPE’s previous experience developing youth as future civic, political, and business leaders, supporting youth advocacy campaigns, and providing entrepreneurship training, the CIPE Youth Leadership Program is a four-month non-residential program that aims to 1) increase the visibility of economic issues affecting youth as a critical piece to post-pandemic recovery, and 2) create a platform for young people to amplify their voices and ideas. The culmination of this program will be CIPE’s virtual global conference focused on youth engagement with private enterprise and democracy, as well as COVID-related challenges that disproportionately affect young people and proposed solutions. This event will coincide with International Youth Day, August 12, 2021, and will serve as a venue for CIPE Youth Leaders to showcase the advocacy and research conducted during the program.

Theme: Youth Engagement with Private Enterprise and Democracy


NOTE: The topics under each sub-theme are meant to guide thinking and spark ideas; applicants are free to propose a project that combines several of these topics, or to propose a different topic they believe is relevant to either sub-theme.

Youth and Private Enterprise

  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed youth perspectives on their economic prospects and ability to access high-quality jobs, and how their societies should focus rebuilding efforts.
  • How young entrepreneurs pivoted their businesses to respond to pandemic-induced changes.
  • Challenges youth face or skills they lack when transitioning into the private sector for the first time, and helpful solutions they envision.
  • Structural barriers preventing youth from participating in the labor market, and ideas to address these issues.

ALSO CHECK: United Nations’ FAO Fellowship Programme 2021

Youth and Democracy

  • What global and regional research and surveys conclude about how youth perceive the state of democracy and their level of trust in public and private institutions, and potential strategies to enhance trust.
  • How – and how often – youth engage and advocate with their local or national government, business associations and chambers of commerce, or civil society organizations on policy issues that are important to them (e.g., employment, technology, sustainability, etc.).
  • Ways in which youth become educated about government and politics and engaged on specific policy issues, particularly as newly eligible voters.
  • What new or improved advocacy methods youth are using to create change in their communities.

Required Activities of Program Participants

1. Advocacy or Research Project

  • Conduct a local, national, or regional project focused on advocacy, raising awareness, or research that falls under either the “Youth and Private Enterprise” or “Youth and Democracy” sub-theme.

Examples of what projects might entail include (but are not limited to):

  • A series of activities (in-person or virtual, depending on COVID-19 conditions) that directly contribute to a local, national, or regional conversation. For example, multi-stakeholder workshops or roundtable discussions to develop a platform or position on a proposed government action.
  • Organizing an advocacy campaign to raise awareness and equip community stakeholders or policymakers with information about an economic issue important to youth in a given locality or country.
  • Developing a training module or instructional videos for youth to help them with post-pandemic economic recovery.
  • Mapping national and/or regional policies or proposals on employment, education, or skills training, and their potential consequences.
  • Mapping the network of in-country and regional groups and individuals working on youth empowerment issues, identifying potential areas for collaboration, and developing strategies for engagement and collective action.
  • Conducting secondary research and interviews with topic experts, private sector representatives, and other stakeholders to obtain data and formulate recommendations for government or community actions to benefit youth in post-pandemic economic recovery.

2. Thought Leadership and Communications

  • Produce at least one blog post or article halfway through the program, to be published on the CIPE website.
  • Present (virtually) the work conducted during the program at the CIPE conference around International Youth Day (August 12, 2021).
  • Submit a final report to CIPE, such as the final version of a policy paper laying out key findings and conclusions, or a detailed summary of activities and accomplishments during the program and assessment of impact. Photos, videos, and other multimedia are highly encouraged.
  • Identify and participate in relevant events or conferences (virtually or in-person) throughout the program.
  • Participate in monthly status calls with CIPE to provide updates on the project.
  • Actively engage during kick-off meeting with the other Leaders and contribute to ongoing information sharing about youth issues.

Selection Criteria

Program participants must be between the ages of 18-25 at the time of application. Preference will be given to individuals from non-OECD countries. Applicants must have:

  • Demonstrated interest or experience working on youth empowerment issues, with preference given to those focused on democracy, private sector/entrepreneurship, or civic/political participation.
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas: policy, activism, entrepreneurship, or research.
  • Ability to work independently with minimum supervision in collaboration with CIPE staff and other Youth Leaders across different time zones.
  • Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Access to a reliable computer and internet connection that enables video participation in virtual workshops or conferences.


Five program participants will be selected for the CIPE Youth Leadership Program and will receive up to $2,500 USD for completing all the required activities based on the extent of the proposed project and associated expenses.

Apply for the Youth Leadership Program Online by Clicking HERE


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