Developing Countries Youth Leadership | Founded by Malmar Knowles Family Foundation
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Developing Countries Youth Leadership Conference

July 19th – July 27th, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia

The Kectil Program hosted it’s second one-week intensive leadership conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The workshop will take place from July 22nd- July 27th, 2019. The Kectil Program selected thirty-one participants from 15 developing countries to attend. The countries represented are Colombia, Egypt, Guyana, India, Israel, Kenya, Lesotho, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Uganda, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

The conference held at the Georgia Institute of Technology Campus included intensive leadership training on various topics moderated by Kectil Program Founder and Executive Director Sherry M. Knowles. We were thrilled to have Mr. Martin Luther King III, Kectil Program Advisory Board Member, and a Human Rights Advocate and Community Activist joining us during the conference with his daughter Yolanda King for personal discussions with the youth.

We also had our advisory board member Dr. Alison Montgomery joining us to present a talk on techniques for raising funds for community efforts and larger scale community projects. Dr. Montgomery is highly experienced in the area of grants and loans for developing countries. We were also very honored to be able to have a presentation by Dr. George Luber, a noted environmental
activist who studies the effect of climate on disease demographics. He is the Chief of the Climate and Heath Program for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) in Atlanta.

We were also pleased to that AT&T, the huge telecommunications and entertainment company, invited us to tour its AT&T Drive Studio in downtown Atlanta. We received a talk about AT&T’s innovative efforts to use the internet in all aspects of transportation and commerce. In addition, we were also invited to tour the world headquarters for the business operations of The Coca-Cola Company. We will received talks from Coca-Cola executives and the youth
were able to have photo opportunities there.

The highlight of the conference however, was the youth participants country presentation. Each participant gave a one-hour presentation on their country’s geography, history, culture, demographics and the political and social environment. The youth also shared with us what it is like to grow up in their
country, the youth challenges, education, mentoring and how to identify and support transformational youth leaders from their countries.

A critical aspect of the Conference was to create a youth leadership network of these highly talented individuals who will form the Kectil Generation. They will support and draw from each other after the conference and as they mature and take on various roles in their lives. Toward that end the Conference include activities that are bonding experiences as well as ample time to discuss key topics facing each of their communities.


Georgia Institute of Technology

The Kectil Program is greatly pleased to announce that the July 2019 Global Youth Leadership Conference was held on the beautiful campus of Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech” or “GA Tech”) in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia Tech is ranked as one of the top ten public universities in Atlanta. Georgia Tech is ranked #4 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, with all of the Institute’s undergraduate engineering programs ranking in the top 5. All of Tech’s graduate engineering program rank in the top 10. (Source: U.S. News & World Report)

Georgia Tech, a private university founded in 1885, the university is a well-recognized center for STEM education and innovation. Georgia Tech provides a technologically focused education to more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students in fields ranging from engineering, computing, and sciences, to business, design, and liberal arts. Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked in the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Georgia Tech is proud of its innovation and entrepreneurship programs and is ranked as #4 in Most Innovative Schools by U.S. News & World Report.  The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is recognized by Forbes magazine as one of 12 incubators “changing the world.” Founded in 1980, ATDC is the oldest technology incubator in the U.S. with more than $2 billion raised by 150 graduates.

The university is very diverse and is consistently rated among the top universities in the nation for graduation of underrepresented minorities in engineering, physical sciences, and architecture and planning.


Atlanta is a beautiful city in the southeastern region of the United States and the capital of the state of Georgia. It ranks 6th economically in the U.S. with a gross domestic product of $270 billion, and 15th among world cities. The metropolitan area of Atlanta is home to about 5.5 million people, among the top 10 in the U.S. Atlanta is known for its diverse economy, global access, great educational institutions, a history and culture of civil rights and a vibrant quality of life. Atlanta hosted the 1996 centennial summer Olympic Games.

The Atlanta Hartsfield Airport is the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, and has held that ranking since 1998. Last year over 100 million people transited through the Atlanta Airport. It is an international hub for flights from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. The fact that Atlanta Airport connects so many regions of the world makes Atlanta a perfect site for an international conference.

Atlanta is a center of civil rights led by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1928-1968), an Atlanta resident who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. His wife, Coretta Scott King create The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in 1968, which remains an important institution in Atlanta for study and reflection. According to King, “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere”. A National Center for Civil and Human Rights was opened in Atlanta in 2014.

Atlanta is the home to a number of high-profile businesses. Coca-Cola was created in Atlanta and the city remains its international headquarters. Atlanta is also the world headquarters of Delta Airlines, which runs 5,400 flights a day and flies to 334 destinations in 64 countries. The global news carrier Cable News Network (CNN) also has its world headquarters in Atlanta. United Parcel Service (UPS) which transits cargo throughout the world, is likewise based in Atlanta, as well as Home Depot which sells home improvement and construction products. In addition, Atlanta is home to large corporate offices of AT&T (a multinational telecommunications corporation) and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (an American global aerospace defense, security and advanced technologies company).

Atlanta is also a leading center for the film and music businesses. It currently ranks third in the United States in film production, and is the location for Tyler Perry Studios, Pinewood Studios and EUE/Screen Gems productions. It has a thriving music industry as a capital of hip-hop, rock, pop and gospel. LaFace Records, SoSo Def Records, and a satellite of Arista Records are located in Atlanta.

Atlanta is a premier center of education, with a number of leading universities. Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”) is ranked 7th among all public universities in the United States, and is a center of excellence for mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical engineering as well as computing and business administration. Emory University is a leading undergraduate and graduate institution which has national and international prominence in healthcare. Atlanta is also the home of the historically black colleges Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta College.

One of the largest aquariums in the world, Georgia Aquarium, opened in downtown Atlanta in November 2005. The facility contains 8 million gallons of water and houses more than 100,000 marine and freshwater animals. The aquarium has dedicated 25 percent of its public space to educational programs, and scientists at the facility conduct research in such areas as marine veterinary medicine and global conservation.

The greatest asset of Atlanta is its hospitality. The people of Atlanta are best known for their welcoming spirit to all visitors and its friendliness. This is a deep southern tradition that is now part of its diverse modern culture.