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A global youth conference

Friday, January 04, 2019

An upcoming event in Mumbai offers students a platform to explore their talents, build upon innovative ideas, and develop global leadership qualities

Students in Mumbai can look forward to an exciting two days on February 2 and 3, 2019. The Global Youth Conference (GYC) 2019, powered by Invoke Inspire, takes place at the C P Goenka International School in Thane, and features a variety of sessions focusing on science, technology, the arts, games and much more.

The concept is the brainchild of Prerna Dharap, Founder and Director of Invoke Inspire, an organisation that offers children a platform to explore their talents and build upon their own innovative ideas.

Prerna, who had taught at Arya Vidya Mandir School for nine years before giving up formal work to deal with personal issues, launched Invoke Inspire in October 2018, along with Darshan Amrute, a motivational speaker and life coach.

Teaching came naturally to her—when she was in the ninth standard, she taught creative writing to children younger than herself—but she realised that that there was far more work to do than a syllabus could ever cover. At a time when solar energy was in the news, a little girl in her school had come up to her and suggested that perhaps energy could be generated through the footfalls of children on the playground. “A couple of years later, I read about a young engineer implementing such an experiment at Nagpur station,” she says. “If I had encouraged her idea in some way, it would have made such a difference to her!”

Last year, when she launched a book of poems by her school-going daughter Nakshatra Dharap, it occurred to Prerna that there were many talented children who did not have avenues to showcase their ideas and skills. Invoke Inspire was born as a result of this realisation.

One of the students she was particularly impressed by was Surya Ramesh, a youngster who spends his weekends at various Model United Nations (MUNS) sessions. “He must have attended about a 100 of them,” she remarks. Surya organised the Jamnabai Narsee Model United Nations—the largest MUN in entire Mumbai during the 2017 calendar year, and over the past four years, has worked with multiple schools to promote their MUN and debate programmes. He is now curating the maiden event of The Global Youth Conference- Mumbai Chapter as Founder and Secretary General.

A key difference between this event and MUN sessions is that GYC will go beyond politics into areas such as art and business. “If a student is interested in business, he or she will run away if you ask the person to give a talk on the Yemen civil war,” Prerna laughs.

GYC, then, will have 12 committees spanning a range of subjects to cover all interests. The UN Investors Conclave will have social entrepreneurs conceptualising and generating a business plan and then pitching the idea to a mock panel of judges to try and get them to invest and endorse their business plan.

The United Nations Women’s programme, in this age of #MeToo, will focus on difficulties women face across the globe, and ways to solve them; the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) is for budding technologists, scientists and engineers; Art for Change will lead to collaborative art, with sales collections being given to an underprivileged school; a Hackathon will encourage students to solve problems through a design approach.

The Gaming Zone will get students to work in groups to create new and interesting games based on Science, Art and Mathematics, movement and other subjects. Through this, Prerna hopes to drive the message that board games and physical games were a crucial leisure and social activity before our digital age. There are several other committees, including an unusual one called Trump Cabinet, focusing on how a powerful and controversial leader counters Russian aggression in Europe and Syria.

Another important committee is the Teacher Task Force based on the United Nations model; Prerna plans to present the deliberations to UNESCO’S Teacher Task Force.

The participation fee for this unique event is `2000 for two days, which includes lunch. For more details, log on to https://www.gycmumbai.com/.

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