On Tuesday 18 May, Forward Thinking convened a Pathways into Politics workshop with Yusuf Tai MBE. Pathways into Politics is an initiative that aims to develop the political literacy, leadership, and communication skills of young British Muslims through regular engagement with political figures from a range of backgrounds.
Yusuf discussed his own journey to becoming active at the local community level before focusing on the participants vision for their future and how they would like to be involved in politics moving forward. Yusuf asked the participants to reflect on where they see themselves in five years’ time; they shared a diverse range of responses, with many detailing how they wished to engage in politics in some capacity in their future career.
Yusuf discussed with the participants how best to progress towards their goals. There are a vast array of issues that could be focused on in politics, however Yusuf advised the participants to avoid overloading themselves as this will lead to burnout; instead he encouraged them to focus only on a few key areas in order to make the most effective contribution. He also suggested that to begin creating change, participants should start small with their planning and then gradually scale up.
The importance of representation in politics was also discussed. Yusuf underlined how diverse representation in Parliament must continue to improve to ensure that issues of importance to communities are raised.
Yusuf Tai MBE has over 15 years of experience in community development, this includes working with a diverse range of frontline, grassroots and faith communities across England.
His expertise has enabled him to provide communities with opportunities to gain access to government and other statutory institutions while supporting organisations in their internal development and capacity-building.
Yusuf is the founder of Public Service Youth Foundation and co-founder of Young Interfaith. Yusuf is the former Regional Director for Forward Thinking, having worked on the UK programme.