The Netherlands welcomes back the International Youth Advisory Committee during the Meet-Up Week of January 2024

Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs had the privilege to host the second cohort of the International Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) in person. Twice a year, YAC members come together in the Netherlands to contribute to meaningful youth engagement for international policy and engage in impactful activities.

Members of the International Youth Advisory Committee during the last meet-up week.


The International Youth Advisory Committee, or the YAC, consists of ten young people from Burkina Faso, Iraq, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Jordan. Jointly, they advise MFA policy officers to implement youth perspectives in international and development policy.

Originating from the Youth at Heart strategy, the YAC was set up in collaboration with NJR in November 2021 as a pilot initiative, subsequently evolving into a multi-annual project. The Youth at Heart strategy emphasizes the importance of involving youth in the heart of development policies.

So far, the current YAC Cohort has contributed to multiple Tracks (longer term assignments) and Sprints (one-time participations), in which they share their ideas and fresh perspectives as young people on policy questions proposed by MFA policy officers. The YAC's consultations cover a range of topics, from attracting young entrepreneurs to climate adaptation measures. The committee's strength lies in the diverse experiences of its members, representing regions where the proposed policies may be implemented.

The Meet-Up Week

From brainstorming and feedback sessions to impactful meetings with international organisations and policymakers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, YAC members engaged in many opportunities to represent the concerns of young people and contribute to meaningful youth participation during the Meet-Up Week last month.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the YAC had the opportunity to meet with their respective country policy officers. This allowed them to participate in one-on-one thematic discussions to delve deeper into exchanges related to their areas of expertise.

Furthermore, YAC members had the opportunity to work with the policy officers from their ongoing Tracks and made great progress in drafting policy documents and finalizing their end-products. For the first time in the YAC’s history, a meeting at the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) was part of the program. The meeting gave the members the opportunity to get to know the Dutch policy making process from a political perspective.

Furthermore, YAC members engaged in a series of workshops and seminars aimed at enhancing their leadership skills, understanding of youth advocacy and policy development. Three YAC members, Daisy Kandole, Khadija Amahal and Shamim Wasii Nyanda joined one of the panels at a symposium at Utrecht University where they inspired the audience with their leadership and ability to drive change in their communities while tackling complex challenges.

Additionally, YAC members visited organizations like the NIMD (Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy) and Dona Daria (Knowledge Centre for Emancipation), where they were introduced to the work of both organizations and participated in interactive sessions and discussions.

Reflection played a crucial role during the Meet-Up Week, as members assessed the impact of Cohort II and set future goals for the next cohort. As this was the last Meet-Up Week for half of the YAC-members, as the senior members have completed their two-year tenure, their learned lessons are incorporated in the preparations for the next cohort. Recruitment for the Cohort III is scheduled to begin at the end of March, through which five new junior members will be selected.

Despite their busy schedule, YAC members also found time to enjoy the Netherlands and partake in leisure activities with their peers, like playing games and exploring Dutch cities!

Vacancy for new YAC members

As five members bid farewell to the YAC, we are recruiting new faces who want to get involved. The vacancy for five new YAC members will be open on the 27th of March 2024, at 12:00 CET, and applications will be accepted until the 10th of April 2024 12:00 CET, or until the maximum number of applications has been reached. More information on the application process and selection criteria can be found on the website of NJR.