Young E’nnovative Leaders of Liberia (YELL), was established in the United States in 2011 by a team of young professional Liberians who were driven by their desire to help shape the destiny of their beloved country Liberia through advocacy, networking, collaboration, empowerment, active participation, and exemplary leadership. YELL aims to raise awareness and build successful communities throughout the Diaspora.
YELL has held 3 successful summits since its start. The summit is an opportunity for future leaders to exchange dialogue about issues that matter to young Liberians. The 2015 summit is set to take place in Sacramento, California from Friday, August 21st to Sunday, August 23rd.
Every year the organization selects speakers who can shed new light on the issues that affect Liberia and how those issues can be solved. Speakers are individuals whose wisdom, knowledge and vision align with YELL’s mission statement and vision. This year the general public voted for Ambassador MacDella Cooper– Founder of the MacDella Cooper Foundation, Kimmie Weeks– Chairman at Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Venus Johnson– Associate Attorney General at California Department of Justice, and Executive Director at Youth Action International, and Elijah Nyaneor– Secretary General at Federation of Liberian Association of Massachusetts.
We asked YELL a few questions regarding their organization and upcoming 2015 summit, read what they had to say below:
What are the benefits of becoming a member of YELL?
Being a member gives you the chance to be a change agent in your community, network with like-minded people and collaborate with organizations whose goal is to make a difference in Liberia, the lives of its people and the leadership.
Tell us a little about YELL’s past work within the Liberian Community
One of the things we pride ourselves on is our platform to nurture future leaders. Most of our members have a prominent role in their local Liberian community.
Overtime, we hope that all of our members will play such roles in their communities. After every summit, we have a young Liberian who barely knows anything about Liberia tell us how they were grateful for attending the summit because it was very informative and inspiring.
We recently launched a YELL chapter in Georgia. A group of young Liberians had the opportunity to run YELL at a local level. So far it’s been very successful. They had their first event in April where they collected feminine products to be donated to New American Pathways and Friends of Refugees. Our goal is to implement this program in every state and hopefully in Liberia as well to give our young people the opportunity to nurture their leadership skills.
What challenges do you face as an organization?
Our biggest challenge, thus far, has been building a strong community presence. As a solution, we decided to host the summit in a different state each year. As Liberians, we are still recovering from the effects of the civil war. Once such effect is the unwillingness to trust each other and the inability to work together. These are self-imposed stereotypes, and as the young generation of Liberians, we are actively tearing down those misconceptions and stereotypes. By collaborating with the local Liberian communities and other organizations, we are proving that Liberians can and do work together to bring about change.
What will be the highlights of the summit?
The best part of our summit every year is that we host it in a different state. This allows us to learn about that state, its people and the Liberian Community within that state. This year we are really excited to work with the team from Sacramento, California. They have been doing a great job planning the summit. The team in Sacramento has an extensive list of activities scheduled for that weekend. Some activities are the city tour on Thursday August 20th, a press conference on Friday August 21st and a charity soccer tournament and barbecue on Sunday August 23rd. It will be a fun and insightful weekend and we can’t wait to see all what they have in store.
Registration for the Young Liberian Summit is free. View the eventbrite page for more details.