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Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: The Inaugural West Arnhem Youth Leadership Summit

10 November 2023

In a region known for its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, the West Arnhem Youth Leadership Summit made history this month with its inaugural event, uniting young people from across West Arnhem Land. The Summit brought together 50 attendees from Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Minjilang, Warruwi and Jabiru to build leadership capacity, identify the current needs of youth in West Arnhem Land, and present a shared vision for youth outcomes.

Held at the Mercure Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru and facilitated by Amanda Marshall, this two-day Summit had a hands-on approach to leadership development, communication skills, public speaking, teamwork, cross-cultural collaboration, cooperative vision development and problem-solving.

The success of the event can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost, it brought together young leaders from across West Arnhem Land fostering cross-community collaboration and unity. The event provided a platform for students to step up to leadership challenges and engage in team-building activities, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the communities they represent.

One of the key highlights of the summit was its emphasis on youth perspective. Attendees were not only encouraged to develop their leadership abilities but also to conduct a needs analysis from the viewpoint of the region's youth. This inclusive approach allowed them to identify the strengths, challenges, and needs of young people in their respective communities.

A feature of the event was the student presentations, where each community group shared their community's strengths and challenges, and pitched innovative ideas for supporting youth. These presentations captivated an audience that included community leaders from each community, representatives from the West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC), the Northern Territory Department of Education, and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).

The Summit evidenced the power of bringing our youth together, immersing them in hands-on learning, and giving them a platform to share their voice. This regional response to building leadership capacity highlighted our youth’s shared vision for contributing to a bright future across West Arnhem Land.

The insights gained from the Summit will inform strategic direction of local community youth initiatives, ensuring that they align with the actual needs and aspirations of the youth in West Arnhem.

Well done to our West Arnhem youth for their strength and courage in showing up, stepping up, and sharing their voice!

The Summit was supported by Gunbalanya School, NIAA and West Arnhem Regional Council.