I have always taken a great interest in the work of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and the documents put forward by this office in terms of reports and opportunities to showcase Wales’s future to the world.

With an exciting policy to shape our nation, this should be an office to be proud of. As a young Welsh Liberal voice in our political arena, I am not proud and I often fail to see myself in the work and actions of this office that the Welsh Government and fellow politicians put as the answer to everything.  

This year when it came to the One Young World conference in Munich, there was an unparalleled opportunity to represent Wales on the global stage to accelerate social impact worldwide. Not a single Black, Asian or minority ethnic person was sent to represent Wales or her future.

What a message to send to the world.

Upon asking for the selection process for the candidates, I was informed that One Young World is just one of the opportunities offered to young people in the Future Generations Leadership Academy.

It was explained that the opportunity to attend the One Young World was open to all the academy participants, of which 20 per cent are Black, Asian or minority ethnic. At the last OYW Summit, two Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic academy members from Wales participated.

It then stated that year’s academy has a target for 30 per cent of participants to be Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals. It wrapped up with what is an empty platitude to most Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, saying that it is vital that everyone is part of the conversation on how we make life in Wales better for current and future generations.

This feels that this year, not one single Black, Asian or minority ethnic person was good enough to make the cut to represent Wales at the One Young World conference. That is institutionally racist.

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Why is it that in the eye of the office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Black, Asian or minority ethnic people are good enough to be selected for the Future Generations Leadership Academy, an internal Welsh program, but not good enough to be selected to represent Wales on a global stage, for example at the One Young World conference?  

It does not stop there. After sending an all white delegation abroad to represent Wales, they then held a number of white panels on important topics such as wellbeing and economics. How can we trust the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales on being anti-racist? 

Future Generations has had racism issues since it was founded. There is nothing in the act that talks or discusses Black, Asian or minority ethnic people or topics that disproportionately affect our communities. They only hire one Black, Asian or minority ethnic member of staff and no one with a policy brief is Black, Asian or minority ethnic.

The Future Generations Commissioner has never created any piece on the Wellbeing Act and reducing racial inequality while shortlisting all white panels to represent Wales abroad. This is what performative anti-racism looks like. 

I am proud of those who are working for a better Wales but I cannot in good faith encourage people to support this office.

I do hope changes are made because Wales needs the office of the Future Generations Commissioner to speak for all of us.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have been a part of Wales’s past, present and we will be a part of Wales’The future.

I want to work towards a day where Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in Wales do not have to be weary of opportunities put forward by people on the grounds of tokenism, quotas or for better press. We need to be selected because of who we are and what we bring to Wales. 

Leena Farhat is Masters student in Language Technologies and a board member of the Institute for Welsh Affairs.

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