BYLC’s journey started in January 2008 when Ejaj Ahmad—then a graduate student at Harvard—conceived of a leadership program that would unite youth from diverse backgrounds, equip them with leadership skills, and engage them in active citizenship. Ejaj and Shammi Quddus—then an undergraduate student at MIT—developed a proposal for a month-long leadership program, Building Bridges through Leadership Training (BBLT), and won the Kathryn Davis Projects for Peace Prize in March 2008. This supported them to run a pilot BBLT program with 30 high school and college students from English medium, Bangla medium, and Madrassa backgrounds in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Following the tremendous success of the pilot, BYLC formed its Governing Board in October 2008. In early 2009, it was registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms in Bangladesh as a non-partisan social venture committed to promoting justice, prosperity, and inclusiveness in society by training the next generation of leaders. Subsequently, BYLC has developed relationships with many leading national and international organizations and expanded its programs to thousands of students from all corners of Bangladesh. Within a span of seven years, BYLC has transformed from a living room project to one of the most trusted, respected, and sought after youth leadership platforms in Bangladesh.