The Muslim Youth Fellowship is Back Recruiting Another Cohort of Leaders to Bring to Toronto City HallWritten by Muslim Youth Fellowship
The Muslim Youth Fellowship (MYF), launched in 2017, is a professional and leadership development program which provides highly motivated, passionate, and hard-working young people from Toronto’s diverse Muslim communities with the opportunity to be part of political and decision-making processes and become part of the next generation of public servants. The program is administered by the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
Fellows undertake 12-week placements with City Council members, serving Toronto's diverse communities through duties such as case work, event planning, communications, and administrative support. These positions are paid and part-time, directly with the City. This applied, hands-on experience provides fellows with the practical tools required to understand and navigate the political process.
Before and during their placements, fellows attend monthly, day-long training sessions on topics such as advocacy and campaigning, effective networking, and building meaningful professional relationships.
Fellows also benefit from one-on-one mentorship and support in personal and professional development.
Lastly, they team up to design and lead a project which tangibly addresses outstanding social or education needs that they see within their community, allowing them to have a meaningful and lasting impact through their work.
The goal of the program is to help build a more diverse next generation of political leaders and to increase Muslim representation in Canadian governance.
Since 2016, almost 52% of Toronto’s population identifies as a visible minority. This is not reflected in the city’s leadership- only about 11% of the City Council members are visible minorities. Representative leadership is important.
Similar fellowships as the Muslim Youth Fellowship have now been run for Black Youth, Tamil Youth, and Filipino Youth (learn more here)
Youth deserve to see themselves reflected in their government. It helps assure them that there’s a place for them in leadership, for them to have a say in the future of their communities and neighbourhoods. On a broader scale, it is essential for people in political and decision-making roles to have varied lived experiences. Greater familiarity with their area’s particular challenges and community-specific needs allows them to address these issues in ways that other politicians may be unable to. Canada prides itself on its multiculturalism and inclusion- but our leadership remains overwhelmingly white. Programs like the MYF are working to change this.
This year, the Muslim Youth Fellowship is taking place between September and December.
Applications are open until July 30th.