Saddam Sayyaleh and Ali Ahmad Makahleh, 2015 BADIR fellows from Jordan, participated via Skype in an Alliance for International Youth Development-led discussion on what young people want and how the alliance can translate young people’s priorities into an actionable policy agenda.

BADIR is a member of the YouthActionNet® network, IYF's signature leadership initiative working to strengthen and scale youth-led social ventures around the world. BADIR is a joint initiative of Starbucks, M.H. Alshaya, Co., and IYF. 

Of the 2015 fellows, 24-year-old Saddam and Ali both work directly with other youth. Saddam (shown above) leads a social enterprise called I Learn geared to creating personalized educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth, including Syrian refugees. Sharing his reaction to the discussion with AIYD, he says, “Having the opportunity to speak directly to decision-makers on youth issues in Washington, DC, was a great experience and very motivational for me. Especially knowing that they want to listen to youth and what youth want!"

“In my mind, and what I shared, was that we need to focus on how to protect youth so they can grow up safely, find their own solutions, and develop their own ideas," Saddam continued. "As I always tell the young people I work with in Jordan, 'Be a part of the change, because the things we take for granted are so precious to those who don’t have access to them.'"

Ali founded Al Anoud, an incubator for local youth organizations addressing environmental issues in Jordan. He remarks, "This opportunity was a great way to share with decision makers what youth around me really want! For me, I believe that achieving energy security for each nation would set the way for better economy, better food, and more peace worldwide."

IYF, in partnership with CSIS, is actively bringing forward the voices of young people to participate directly in critical debates on the policies that affect their lives.