W. Lawrence Yealue, II is a CIPE-Atlas Corps Think Tank LINKS Fellow at Accountability Lab

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Throughout history, people have continually sought positive social and economic change, and found creative ways to make it happen. This change has been driven by a sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo, exemplary in the case of the civil rights movement in the US to the anti-Apartheid efforts in South Africa. But the list is endless.

Our societies have evolved and will continue to do so because there are many sources of dissatisfaction in every corner of the world- including terrible acts of suppression, segregation, and discrimination that threaten human dignity. I believe that humans are by nature kind, loving, and fair – but a lack of honesty, transparency, and accountability can create negative dynamics that lead to unacceptable behaviors.

For me, there is nothing more satisfying that seeing a change-maker leading the change they want to see – some of my own greatest heroes include the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

I see countless change-makers of this mold emerging through young leadership programs across the world. In particular, the program I am now part of, the CIPE-Atlas Corps fellowship. The overall objective of the program is to bring young leaders from across the world to research institutions in the US in order to build the skills and capacity they need to drive reform. This empowers them to create even greater change when they return to their home countries.

Through this fellowship, I am serving at the Accountability Lab, which works in countries such as Liberia to empower young people with tools for accountability and integrity. My experience in the US will allow me to help my own organization multiply its impact when I am back in Monrovia.

I have realized that the tools we need to create change are only found through genuine love for humanity, regardless of country of birth, race, sexual orientation, creed, language, or social status. Positive, non-violent change-makers are more than a match for advocates of an unequitable status-quo or violent extremists. As we consciously awaken to the realization of our shared humanity, this can bring resounding positivity and growth.

Money is often perceived as the key to successful change – via projects and workshops. In an environment persuading us of all the things we don’t have, we are made to believe that enough money will bring change. Sadly, however, billions of dollars in state funds and foreign aid have not brought the change we want to see in countries like Liberia.

I believe we already have the key resource we need for change: committed, creative community leaders. An investment in emerging global young leaders is the way to create massive and controllable reform. Imagine the multiplier effect that programs of this sort can have over time, as the mind and actions of these leaders grow.

Through honesty, transparency, and accountability the world can be a better place now and for future generations. Join us and be part of a movement that is changing the world. It begins with each of us taking personal responsibility for change – both thinking this through and then making it happen. The time is now.

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