The next generation is ready! Inspirations from Global Shapers Karnataka Youth Summit, Bangalore

“Why is medical care becoming more expensive everyday, while all other technologies are becoming cheaper and cheaper?” A young man, Saravanan Nagesh, who is studying at CMRIT Bangalore happened to be sitting next to me at lunch during the Global Shapers Youth Summit and was curious to know. I turned around and spent about 2 mins explaining my views, but what struct me was how this young man, not only had spent time thinking about how increasing cost impacts people around him, but had the guts to voice his concern. And when he found out that i am in the healthcare field, he asked me for an explanation. Saravanan voiced his questions when he got a chance. During the Global Shapers main event, Q&As, during tea breaks, lunch.

And not only Saravanan. There was this young boy who confronted Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Founder, Infosys about the changing role of universities and how education will be different in the future. He stood up and asked “If we all believe in changing the education system, why is it that companies like Infosys and SAP still hire people based on their marks, with 70% cutoff. How are YOU going to change your recruitment system?” While I liked Kris Gopalakrishnan’s answer “Dont expect us to change anything. We make the rules, the youth is supposed to break them!”, what was brilliant was the transformation that i was seeing around me. Youngsters are questioning everything. They will call your bluff. They will make you accountable. You better have good answers, the next generation is ready!

And thats what Kiran Bedi in her keynote urged youngsters to do. Not take things for granted. Take charge. Make changes, and no change will come from someone else. It will have to start with each one of them. And us. She signed off with this – Focus on Two Ps and Two Ss – Professional and Personal Integrity. Social and Spiritual Growth. A lot of the kids were disappointed that she was on Video and not present in person, but it was a inspiring call to action by her. Trailor of the movie on her life – Yes Madam, Sir, was played. It looks like a very well made movie with some hard hitting moments.

Youngsters from across the state had gathered in this magnificent 23 acre SAP Labs Campus in Whitefield to attend the Inaugural Global Shapers Karnataka Youth Summit. Students from all over Karnataka had gone through a rigorous selection process to be chosen to attend this summit. And they came with their curiosity, their passion and like Sangeeth Varghese, Founder Curator of Global Shapers Community said repeatedly, their 100% excitement.

Launched by World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers is an exclusive community of exceptional youth in their 20s. This community would comprise of a selected band of exceptional youth from across the world, possessing unique qualities and extraordinary achievements that set them apart from the mainstream. They would be drawn from diverse fields like business, politics, media, NGO etc. The Forum shall have a two pronged agenda – first helping the individual shapers who are already extraordinary in their achievements to further increase their role through their interactions with achievers from other spheres, second to provide them with a global platform to shape the future, and to catalyze, individually and collectively, fresh ideas and solutions for the world’s most pressing solutions.

16 extraordinary youngsters were chosen from Karnataka as the Global Shapers. The summit was a celebration of their achievements and an inspiration to hundreds of other students who had been chosen from across Karnataka to attend. What was most heartening during this summit was the 16 Global Shapers were so humble, it was unbelievable. Each generation usually is more arrogant that the previous, in many ways. But the exceptional humility and empathy demonstrated towards pressing issues around them, was what i would say, the highlight of the evening, and a common element in the Global Shapers.

Suhas Gopinath, CEO of Globals Inc (who by the way started a company when he was 14!) and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader moderated an excellent panel discussion with some of the Global Shapers, Phanindra Sama – Redbus, Arundathi Gupta – Mentor Together, Abha Somesh and Yashveer Singh – National Social Entrepreneurship Forum. Each one spoke about their experience, learnings and life changing moments. They had done things against great odds, demonstrating perseverance far beyond their young age. They not only had the initiative and the guts to change things, but the stamina to stick around, not give up and make sure they reach their goals. Dont give up, conquer your fears, find a mentor, ask for help, nothing is impossible, if you put your heart into it, you will find a way. You rarely hear these from 23 and 24 year olds!

Professor Rajeev Gowda and Abhijit Bhaduri engaged in a free flowing dialogue about education. Prof Gowda quoted Swami Vivekananda “So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them” and Mr Bhaduri left us with this gem “If you want success, think of yourself. If you want happiness think of others.”

By the end of the day everyone was pumped up and raring to go. People were hanging around the campus long after the event was over to start things on their own, collaborate with others, involve their teachers, start a student chapter in their college, ideas were flowing. At about 9:18 pm that night Saravanan set up a facebook page for Global Shapers Karnataka. In about 40 minutes, he had signed up 40 people, and by the next morning there were 110 + members. Sangeeth asked Saravanan how did they manage to get 40 members in 40 minutes. His answer “and counting sir”.

Check out the Global Shapers Karnataka on Facebook. Get Inspired