In recognition of the success of Nigeria’s most respected youth event: The Future Nigeria Awards; the Africa Union (AU), “in considering a best practice necessary for adaptation during the review of its ongoing Youth Innovative and Creative Awards”, last month moved to adopt strategy from The Future Awards to implement one of its key youth development strategies continent-wide. Through its Department of Youth, Human Resources and Science and Technology, the AU organized a strategy review workshop on its proposed Africa Union Youth Volunteer Corp in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the over 35 participants representing leaders of youth networks across Africa unanimously proposed to work with RedSTRAT (organizers of the Awards) to integrate the communication strategies that have had unprecedented success in capturing and sustaining the attention and buy-in of young people and the media in Nigeria. RedSTRAT’s PR Director, Emilia Asim-Ita, was one of the three Nigerian representatives at the summit which was also facilitated by Emmanuel Etim, Winner in the Best Use of Advocacy category of the 2009 Awards. She was appointed to head the media committee for the entire project. “We were very excited to receive this news!” Asim-Ita remarked. “It holds a special significance to us, because The Future Awards is a proudly original Nigerian idea and model that has become a success over just four years. When we call Nigeria the ‘Giant of Africa’ it shouldn’t just be an empty phrase; this is the kind of leadership we should be showing the region. More importantly, this news goes to prove what we have always said – that our generation is able and ready to re-direct Nigeria positively.” In a related development, another member of the RedSTRAT team, Chude Jideonwo, was selected by the United States government to represent Nigeria at the recently-concluded International Visitors Leadership Programme in March/April. Jideonwo, selected based on work with The Future Nigeria Awards, was one of 25 youth leaders chosen from every continent of the world to meet with US political, government, social, academic and youth leaders across more than five states. Created and managed by three young Nigerians under the ages of 25, The Future Nigeria Awards is the most popular arm under The Future Nigeria Project (www.thefuturenigeria.com), which seeks to develop young Nigerians and empower them in terms of skills, inspiration and positive change. Over the years, it has proven to be one of Nigeria ’s most popular and effective youth platforms, working with a Board of Trustees including Prof. Pat Utomi, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Dr. Rasheed Gbadamosi, Mr. Bayo Ligali, amongst others. The 2009 edition had as keynote speaker the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.