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Future kid

A Chennai student recalls her experiences of the Global Young Leaders Conference



Smiruthi Ram (second from right)

"I WAS a little wary and had a closed perspective of my trip. But the knowledge I have gathered from this programme is incredible," says Smiruthi Ram, who attended the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) in June this year. She was among 350 students from across various countries, who participated in the programme. As a Std. XII student of the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan School, K.K Nagar, she says that the conference changed her outlook on life. Smiruthi, along with her classmate, Anjana Badrinarayanan, were selected for the leadership programme held in the U.S.

The GYLC is a leadership development programme that offers youngsters a unique opportunity to build leadership qualities in a global context. During the 12-day programme, students participate in discussions and are encouraged to analyse global issues. "The theme of the GYLC is `The leaders of tomorrow preparing for global challenges and responsibilities of the future'. We were divided into different groups and asked to represent 13 different countries. I had to represent Israel and was the spokesperson for my group. I had to speak about Israeli issues at a mock UN assembly as part of a global summit," she says. Other issues Smiruthi and her team had to discuss were the `politics of trade' where students came up with mock strategies whereby Brazil could take on the EU regarding the imposition of coffee trade barriers. "These discussions changed my attitude and I learnt to listen and put forth my views without interrupting others. I learnt the art of diplomacy as each one of us had varied opinions on the same issue. To convince them about ours was a big task," says Smiruthi.

A typical day would start with leadership group meetings, a visit to a historic place. We would meet post-lunch again to discuss global issues. "As we had to address issues concerning other countries, we had a lot of homework to do. I found that Indian students had an edge over students from other countries in terms of geography and global current affairs."

Apart from reading books, Smiruthi has a passion for table tennis and was ranked 6th in the All India Sub Junior category. "Attending the GYLC was the opportunity of a lifetime. Now, that the excitement is over I want to settle down to some serious study and score well in my Board exams," says Smiruthi, who later wants to pursue a course in Genetic Engineering.

To attend the GYLC, students send in their profiles and state why they are interested in participating in the programme. The school shortlists applicants and forwards their applications to the authorities. "Since this is a self-sponsored trip, not many can afford it. But, it is an excellent training for students with a high scholastic aptitude. If there were organisations that came forward to sponsor the trip, there would be more global young leaders," feels Smiruthi. For more information about such programmes log on to www.cylc.org

PRASSANA SRINIVASAN

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