Under the leadership of Gabriel Buyuklyu ’23 and Miron Ion ’23, an inspiring civic education movement that empowers young people and promotes community development began in Cahul, a city in Southern Moldova, in the fall of 2023. 

Gabriel and Ion’s motivation came from their experiences as FLEX students in the United States. Their exposure to youth initiatives and dynamic engagement overseas strengthened their resolve to bring about a similar transformation in their own community. In particular, during his exchange year, Gabriel was involved in Business Professionals of America (BPA) and was inspired by one of the student officers’ leadership skills and how they motivated others to participate in club activities. This experience inspired him to become more actively involved in civic life upon returning home, and he hopes to inspire others to do the same. 

Gabriel and Miron acquired the tools they needed to organize and run a Youth Council through the “Super Mentor” program, implemented September 22-24, 2023, by the Local Youth Councils National Network (RNCLTM). Under the guidance of seasoned youth council leaders, they acquired useful knowledge about advocacy, community involvement, and effective leadership. 

Gabriel and Miron launched the first Regional Youth Council of Cahul with a meeting held in the Cahul District Council building on November 17. Nineteen vibrant youth from various parts of the Cahul Region participated. The council now has 23 members—the same number of members as the Cahul District Council (the “senior” council)—and is working towards its objective of enhancing the voices of young people and encouraging their involvement in community development programs.  “This council is not just about leadership or community; it serves as a vehicle for empowerment and support of the local youth,” explained Gabriel. Cahul’s Youth Council serves as an essential link between the younger population and local government through collaboration with the Cahul District Youth Center, the Cahul District Council, and the President of the Cahul District, among other bodies and institutions. When it comes to making decisions in the youth domain, the Cahul District Youth Center has an advisory role and can advocate for allocating a specific budget for youth activities. It seeks to carry out projects that are in line with the goals of Cahul’s thriving youth community in addition to actively engaging with governmental bodies to represent youth interests. 

The Council has a President, a Vice-President, and a Secretary, all voted into their positions by the rest of the members. It consists of four departments: Budgetary Participation, Projects for the Youth, Human Resources, and Communication, along with a Volunteers Coordinator. There are specific rules and a strict deontology that the council must follow. 

Cahul’s youth can find hope in the efforts led by Gabriel and Miron. Their commitment, together with the encouragement of like-minded people, drives a revolutionary path toward empowerment and change driven by the community. 

Featured Alumni: 

Gabriel Buyuklyu ’23 (Valeni, Moldova, placed by PAX in Plymouth, IN) 

Ion Miron ’23 (Cahul, Moldova, placed by ASSE in Alpena, MI) 

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