We are delighted to welcome a new steering committee member: Rahul Antao.
Rahul is a food and agricultural sciences graduate from the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche and currently works as a consultant on Rural Youth for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on the organization’s youth desk.
Following a natural curiosity in food and culinary arts, Rahul moved into understanding the holistic links to food production – from farm to fork. His passion and interest led him to Italy, where he studied food and agricultural sciences at the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche. Having worked with a network of seed keepers and organic farmers in India (Navdanya) and Slow Food in Italy, he spent the better half of the last nine years working with and learning from farmers, producers, chefs. This journey further cemented his passion for food and agriculture, and paved the way to centre his work on indigenous peoples’ and bio-cultural diversity with a particular focus on youth. In specific, he assisted in the establishment of a youth-driven indigenous organization that considers the interlinkages between ‘people, landscapes and culture’ called NESFAS based in Shillong, India. Much of his work focused on youth and education in the context of bio-cultural diversity.
“In many ways young people stand at the very epicentre of achieving our Sustainable Development Goals. Young people are talented, innovative and bring fresh perspective. They are important drivers and change agents of bettering the world we would all love to see. But to do it, they need to be considered the present and not the future and in many ways they need to give the enabling opportunity of authoring a sustainable future and taking ownership. With this in mind, it has become somewhat of a personal goal to provide as much opportunity for the voices and ideas of young people that will inevitably bring about positive change.
‘YPARD has always stood out as a source of inspiration for the work on youth development and it is my honor to have this opportunity to serve on its steering committee. I am very much excited and looking forward to working with fellow colleagues and contributing to the strengthening the important work of YPARD. I believe that by harnessing the talent of youth we can accelerate innovative ideas into solutions for achieving our common goals. With this in mind, it is my hope to explore means and ways of bringing young people’s voices closer to decision makers, development workers and policy makers.
Having Rahul on the YPARD Steering Committee is invaluable for strengthening the strategic directions of the Platform. It is particularly a chance to expand the network partnerships and learn more from IFAD’s extensive work on young people.