Africa Asia Youth Foundation (AAYFO)
International Youth Day Symposium, 2019
"Sustainable Development through Alternate Education"
Africa Asia Youth Foundation recently organised an International Youth Day Symposium at Galgotias Campus-I in partnership with Exelient Africa and Galgotias University to celebrate &ldquoThe Spirit of Youth&rdquo on August 14th, 2019.
In attendance were High Level Diplomats, 150+ youth delegates, youth activists and potential stakeholders from Afghanistan, Nepal, Vietnam, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana.
To foster and strengthen relationships between all stakeholders present, the event commenced with the National Anthem. Further, to evoke a thought provoking discussion, Mr. Ezeugo Nnamdi, Secretary General of AAYFO in his opening remarks, pondered upon how today&rsquos youth across the world have the courage to make a difference and emphasized upon what AAYFO has been doing to engage such change makers.
Mr. Nnamdi had set the tone for the first panel discussion on &ldquoRole of Youth as Change Agents&rdquo. To do justice with the panel discussion, AAYFO ensured that on the dais were youth activists whose expertise and specialisation in their respective field of work has been applauded many a times and has indeed inspired many. Mr. Himadrish Suwan, the Chairman of Confederation of Young Leaders addressed the audience first and touched upon the demographics of Africa & Asia as two very young continents, he suggested that if taken advantage of the situation, youth leaders can effectively and efficiently solve global issues of unemployment and radicalization. Mr. Suwan mentioned that his organisation has been creating leaders across India who have been tackling problems in Indian context. Mr. Ranjan Tomar, the President of NOVRA added on the immediate need to restructure our education system. Not only this, he emphasized on the need to reconnect the youth with India's social ethos and value systems that ultimately will lead to collective development. Mr. Tomar quoted Benjamin Disraeli "Almost everything great has been done by youth". Mr. Chidozie Agumadu, General Secretary of AASI mentioned that the youth are the conscience of a country. Mr Agumadu quoted that the youth are the next generation voice of leaders a country needs and emphasized on how youth can challenge age-old traditions and bring innovative solutions accordingly. The moderator, Ms. Thandolwenkosi Sibanda, AAYFO's Campus Ambassador shared her opinion on how youth can act as change makers and touched upon the current scenario in both Africa & Asia and associated expectations from the youth in the years to come.
After the first panel, a group of monks were invited on the stage to &ldquoChant for Peace&rdquo. The objective of the chanting was to make the audience understand how capacity building process can be strengthened using peace.
After the chant, Mr. Shikhant Sablania, was invited on the stage to share his experiences of "The Great African Caravan". A traveller and an artist at heart addressed the audience on how passion can take you places. An engineer turned artist, who believes in the Ubuntu philosophy from Africa of "I exist because you exist" shared his personal experiences of how a team of 12 artists from 7 different countries came together to collaborate with the local artists and create art- be it in whatever form possible. He also touched upon that when we are young, our compassionate selves work for others, however, at a later stage in life, we try to focus on our own selves which becomes impossible to deal with, hence it should be the other way around.
After an engrossing interaction with Mr. Shikhant, next was a Panel Discussion on "Education for a Sustainable Future". On the dais were H.E. Dr. Christopher Nwanoro, Minister Counsellor at the Nigeria High Commission, New Delhi Mr. Subrahmanyam Pulipaka, CEO of NSEFI Ms. Ankita Nawalakha, Founder of the New Education Project and Mr. Angad Anand, Country Director for AAYFO, India chaired the panel discussion.
Since the topic in itself was quite interesting and required no question to start with, H.E. Dr. Christopher Nwanoro without further ado, focused on how education can help build a bridge and fill the vacuum between Africa & Asia. Dr. Christopher who is also the Founder of the Lotus Initiative for the Blind, emphasized upon the need to inculcate and look forward to environment friendly methods to help secure a sustainable future. Mr. Pulipaka, took charge and disclosed key facts about the lack of skill sets in both the continents. He mentioned how education should focus on sector wise transformation and specifically mentioned about the dire need to reform industries because industries are expanding, but employment opportunities are not being equally generated. The next speaker, Ms. Ankita talked about three buckets of SDG's , economics, environment and social justice. She emphasized on how machines are killing creativity , critical thinking and the ability to network. She heard her calling at the grassroots when she was 18 and joined Teach for India and has been creating an impact ever since, empowering people from low income communities. One of her student had been victimized due to non availability of street lights in the Tughlakabad area, her students who were all 12 years old, then collected primary data and protested outside the MLA's office who was deeply moved on the concern and installed streetlights in the vicinity. Mr. Angad, the moderator concluded the panel by pondering upon the need to look back at our ages old pedagogical practices, and then to assimilate, introspect and reflect accordingly. Not only this, he asked the audience present a serious question on &ldquoZebra Crossing&rdquo and out of an audience of 150, only 3 hands were raised when asked about if the audience present stop their vehicles before the zebra crossing. He then shared a personal story wherein when he was associated with Teach for India, while reading a poem, he asked her girls the meaning of the word &ldquofortune&rdquo and to everyone&rsquos surprise, the audience laughed because her girls responded that fortune is an Indian brand that manufactures edible cooking oil. His story and his question emphasized as to how Individual and Collective Social Responsibility can acts as major change catalysts and how multiplier effect can help building blocks of the nation pass with flying colours.
Last but not the least, AAYFO's Environment Goodwill Ambassadors, the team from Nav Urja Yuva Sanstha who was led by Mr. Pushkar Sharma and AAYFO's Campus Ambassador, Mr. Babel Garrick were felicitated. Mr. Pushkar from Nav Urja Yuva Sanstha shared his organization's vision and mission too.
The symposium concluded with a formal Vote of Thanks by Mr. Angad Anand who in turn promised that AAYFO as an independent organisation will take the spirit forward and will work upon channelizing certain things in a direction that will in turn strengthen Africa-Asia relations. A special mention was provided to Galgotias University, Exelient Africa, Media Partners: India Africa Today & Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary Diplomatist, all the speakers and the youth delegates present at the symposium.
All in all, the event ended with a positive note !