National Webinar on UNSDGs and All India Youth Leadership Summit

October 4, 2021

The Global Challenges Forum Foundation organized a National UNSDG Webinar and All India Youth Leadership Summit on 1st October 2021 to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 152nd Birth Anniversary. The event featured a formal association with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Switzerland to propagate a special project 1M2030 https://www.1m2030.org/ for raising 1 million youth leaders for sustainable development by 2030 and beyond.

For the conference, four United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were selected to address problem areas prevalent in India namely, Hunger, Health, Education and Employment. The aim was to highlight innovative initiatives and explore ways to roadmap the key Sustainable Development Goals as well as to showcase various UN SDG Projects being implemented by a team of young leaders (young students and working professionals) in India. The event was competitive, and of the 23 teams that submitted entries and presentations, the best 6 were shortlisted for the finals. The online event witnessed a turnout of over 300 participants with an integrated inclusive and voluntary representation of Indian students, Indian diaspora, youth leaders, teachers, heads of educational institutions, working professionals/corporates, and few foreign delegates in attendance. The EducationWorld Magazine and Edumate TV were official media partners.

The Conference was organized by the Global Challenges Forum India Delhi and Bangalore teams and Dr Sanaya Nariman an Educator and John Samuel, a retired IAS officer who introduced the significance of the Conference. Dr Walter Christman, former US Diplomat and Founder of the Global Challenges Forum delivered the concept of global partnerships as well as the scope of the Project. Dr Moses Satralkar, Associate Director of the Global Challenges Forum and Advisor for the 1 Million 2030 project outlined a strategic narrative on signs of the times, and why it is so important to refocus on rebuilding the eco-system using the UNSDGs. He also introduced the Keynote Speakers for the Event. The four Keynote Speakers made significant presentations during the proceedings. Julia Genth, Project Coordinator for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Geneva officially represented the UN and spoke on the significance of the vision and mission of the UN and project 1 Million 2030. She encouraged the Young Students in India to take up entrepreneurship projects on the SDGs. Vivek Mansukhani, Head of the Institute for International Education (IIE) Delhi, and a famous Theatre personality presented on the outreach programmes orchestrated by the IIE in Quality Education, Scholarship and Cultural Exchanges. Shekhar Kalianpur, an International Spiritual Philosopher from Bollywood, Mumbai spoke on the spiritual virtues of the SDGs as well as the importance of Community Development. Sahil D’Mello, NRI Australia a representative of the Diaspora exhorted the Youth to think about Careers through Education, and how Social Welfare Projects were undertaken by the Indian Diaspora overseas. Other dignitaries in attendance included Dr Beatrice Bressan Executive Director of GCF, Geneva, who voiced her strong support for the youngsters in India.

The six youth leadership teams that were represented in the finals included the physiotherapists and educators who outlined their work on healthcare and happy schooling projects in rural India. They were followed by Udayan Care and IT Centre a project by Kiran Bedi. These youngsters reach out to the village children for upgrading their IT skills. Bee Nifty an indigenous project by high schoolers showcased how manufacturing bags from recycled waste provided sustenance for the livelihoods of rural women. Math with a Smile and Student Expresso highlighted how STEM careers can shape up by solving relevant real-life practical Math problems in a creative scientific manner beyond school hours.

Miranda House spoke on feeding hungry children and Enactus by Arubindo College showcased entrepreneurship and art projects for community welfare. The two judges who screened the presentations included Arvinder Singh a Senior Architect in Delhi and Meenakshi Choudhary an International Baccalaureate School Teacher and IB CAS coordinator at Bangalore. The judges introduced the teams, elucidated criteria for selection as well as organized certification for the finalists. Two special features included A high-level peer mediation group Madhyam, comprising a group of Supreme Court and High Court Judges led by Sumit Chander gave a glimpse on effective mediation and communication skills as a case study. Madhyam also co-hosted the Conference with the Global Challenges Forum team. Khursheed Nariman founder of Arts and Artisans gave a pictographic view of the skills, trades and business opportunities pertinent to the Artistic Tapestry of India. Charu Muthreja anchored the discussions, Dr Sanaya, summarized the proceedings and Gurrit Sethi, delivered the vote of thanks. A number of volunteers including Jaspreet Sethi, Sarika Gandhi and Villie Aria organized networks for publicity and web platforms. Overall, the National UNSDG Webinar was a grand success in opening up a debate to encouraging inclusive social outreach initiatives on UNSDGs for young students from high schools, universities and working professionals to promote the 1 Million 2030 youth leadership project for India.

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