Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center
|Formation||January 5, 2009|
Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), Bangladesh’s first leadership institute, was founded by Ejaj Ahmad to build connections among youth from diverse backgrounds, equip them with leadership skills, and enable them to have high impact in public, private, and civil sectors. The organization’s efforts aim to strengthen prosperity, justice, and inclusiveness in societies worldwide.
- 1 About
- 2 Activities
- 3 Awards and recognition
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The concept of a youth leadership center was originally developed at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in January 2008. The proposal for a month-long leadership program, Building Bridges Through Leadership Training (BBLT), was jointly developed by Ejaj Ahmad, then a graduate student at Harvard University, and Shammi S. Quddus, then an undergraduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The proposal was one of a hundred college projects awarded a grant by Projects for Peace in 2008.
Ahmad and Quddus ran the pilot phase of BBLT in Chittagong in the summer of 2008, with technical and financial support from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Public Service Center. Building on the success and lessons learned from the pilot, the BBLT program was encapsulated within the framework of a non-profit organization, the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC).
In early 2009, BYLC was registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms in Bangladesh as a non-partisan social venture.
The signature program of BYLC, BBLT, expanded into a four-month program for BBLT 4 in July 2010. The first month consists of intensive classroom training in leadership skills after school. In the next three months, students work in teams to implement their leadership training by designing and conducting community projects in local slums.
Art and Practice of Leadership
The Art and Practice of Leadership (APL) is a three-day national workshop for third and fourth year university students. This workshop provides participants with an exceptional opportunity to learn about leadership, communication, and career development. The participants embark on a stimulating personal journey that develops their leadership potential and helps them gain new competencies to better compete in the job market. Employers today look for more than just a degree. They look for individuals who will not only excel in their professional capacity, but will also lead, inspire, and mobilize people around them. Participants are drawn from all over Bangladesh and become part of a powerful network of youth leaders.
Building Bridges through Leadership Training
Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT) is BYLC’s 10-week long signature leadership training program. Designed for HSC/Alim/A Levels and first and second year university students, the BBLT program uses a competitive selection process to enroll 42 students from the three different educational tracks, namely English medium, Bengali medium, and Madrassa, in equal numbers. The curriculum for the program draws heavily from leadership courses taught at Harvard University. The intensive training program, coupled with an experiential learning model, challenges students to critically think about leadership and apply their skills to effectuate positive change in society. In the first phase of the program, students conduct experiments, take risks, and question deeply held assumptions in the classroom. In the second phase, students have the opportunity to translate their learning into action by implementing community service projects in underprivileged communities.
Building Bridges through Leadership Training Junior
Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT) is BYLC’s 4-week long signature leadership training program. Designed for students of class 6 to class 10, the BBLTJ program uses a competitive selection process to enroll 42 students from the three different educational tracks, namely English medium, Bengali medium, and Madrassa, in equal numbers. The curriculum for the program draws heavily from leadership courses taught at Harvard University. The intensive training program, coupled with an experiential learning model, challenges students to critically think about leadership and apply their skills to effectuate positive change in society. In the first phase of the program, students conduct experiments, take risks, and question deeply held assumptions in the classroom. In the second phase, students have the opportunity to translate their learning into action by implementing community service projects in underprivileged communities.
Youth Leadership Bootcamp
The Youth Leadership Bootcamp (YLB) is a 4-day residential workshop for undergraduate students. The workshop is designed to deliver a transformative personal experience for the participants, build their leadership capabilities, and help them generate innovative thinking. Through a highly competitive application and interview-based screening process, BYLC selects 100 bright and passionate students who are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others. Bootcamp participants not only develop tangible skills to make them more competitive in their careers, but also gain valuable insights into the workplace through exposure visits. 
Youth Leadership Summit
The 3-day Youth Leadership Summit focuses on the core challenges encountered by youth leaders. Through a competitive screening process, YLS brings a diverse group of young delegates from around the world together with distinguished experts, innovators, and leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors for a journey of collective exploration, reflection, and networking. The summit features a mix of plenaries and panels on entrepreneurship, global citizenship, education and career, gender and leadership, politics, and innovation. Teambuilding activities and reflection sessions give delegates opportunities to deepen their understanding of effective, meaningful, and inclusive leadership. Eligible applicants are in college, university, or at the start of their career.
Youth Leadership Prize
Youth Leadership Prize aims to demonstrate the power of youth in leading change in their communities. BYLC believes that people from all walks of life can exercise leadership regardless of their age or background. The Youth Leadership Prize is a part of our efforts to nurture and encourage the passion of youth by connecting them to the right tools and networks, and help them grow as catalysts of change. BYLC will honor the memory of the late Kathryn Davis by offering 10 BYLC Youth Leadership Prizes to BYLC graduates to enable them to translate their ideas into action. Each prize recipient will get a grant of Taka 750,000 to implement their project.
Office of Professional Development
The Office of Professional Development (OPD), a key unit of the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), aims to provide students, fresh graduates, and young professionals with the best in class professional development training and placement services. The OPD program will also seek to connect with leading employers across Bangladesh and help them source high potential talent from the BYLC graduate community. 
Awards and recognition
In 2009, Ahmad was profiled as one of Asia's most promising young leaders and awarded the 2009–2010 Paragon Fellowship by the Foundation of Youth Social Enterprise. He was also among 20 outstanding young social entrepreneurs recognized by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) for the 2010 YouthActionNet Fellowship. The 2010 fellows came from 18 different countries across five continents. He was also featured in The Washington Post on a special program titled 'On Leadership: Ejaj Ahmad, bringing Obama to Bangladesh'. Assistant secretary Robert O. Blake, Jr. of the Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs in the US government mentioned the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center as one of "South Asia's Unheralded Stories" at the 2010 San Diego World Affairs Council. Ahmad was selected as one of the 150 delegates from Asia and the US in the 2010 Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia. In recognition of his work at BYLC, Ejaj Ahmad has received an Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.  Additionally, BYLC has received considerable media attention in Bangladesh via newspapers, radio and press conferences.
- "BBLT 12" (PDF). BYLC.
- "2008 - Projects for Peace". Projects for Peace.
- "Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center graduation ceremony". Star Weekend Magazine. The Daily Star. January 15, 2010.
- "Youths together to decide their future". The Daily Star. July 25, 2009.
- "APL". bylc official website.
- "BBLT". bylc official website.
- "BBLTJ". bylc official website.
- "Bootcamp". bylc official website.
- "Youth Leadership Summit". bylc official website.
- "OPD". opd official website.
- "Ejaj Ahmad". Foundation for Youth Social Entrepreneurship.
- "Ejaj Ahmad". YouthActionNet.
- "Ejaj Ahmad honored as a 2010 Global Fellow of the International Youth Foundation" (PDF). BYLC. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2012.
- "'On Leadership: Ejaj Ahmad, bringing Obama to Bangladesh'". The Washington Post. June 8, 2010.
- "Remarks by Assistant Secretary Robert O. Blake, Jr. at the San Diego World Affairs Council" (PDF). BYLC. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 28, 2013.
- 2010 Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit
- "Press Clippings". BYLC.