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Australian-Indian youth works on bilateral relationship

Youth exchange shapes attitudes of Leaders of Tomorrow


Karan Anand.

By Karan Anand, Chair, Australia India Youth Dialogue.

The India-Australia bilateral relationship has witnessed a significant growth over the past few years. This can be attributed to the fact that the two countries have a lot in common, right from being a secular & liberal democratic government to having an independent judicial system.

Australia has also been the Indian students’ hotspot for higher education, besides being a popular holiday destination.

The shared love for Cricket and Hockey has played a significant role in further strengthening the bilateral relations between the countries.

Adapting to the global scenario, Australia and India have partnered to promote regional security and stability.

The countries now share a strategic partnership which is facilitated by high level visits, international frameworks, policy talks, as well as youth and leadership dialogues.

At this juncture, there is a need for young leaders to be at the heart of identifying and solving issues that do not feature on the government’s priority list.

Even as the governments of India and Australia address critical issues in the bilateral relationship, there is a need for a highly contextual exchange between the young leaders of both the nations.

The AIYD has been working towards bridging this gap for seven years now by providing emerging leaders a platform to discuss, debate and initiate meaningful collaborations and partnerships.

In other words, the AIYD promotes engagement between the young leaders of Australia and India to strengthen the bilateral relationship through personal interaction and understanding.

However, the AIYD’s immense success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Indian and Australian governments.

Handing Over the Baton to Young Leaders

With youth leadership exchange as the key to strengthening the bilateral relationship between Australia and India.

The AIYD has consistently fostered impactful initiatives for seven years now.

By bringing together and facilitating dialog and debate among the keenest minds from both the nations, and harnessing the support provided by the respective governments, the AIYD has paved the way for leaps of growth in the bilateral relationship.

Speaking on the tremendous support extended by the governments of Australia and India for AIYD 2018, Sachin Kumar, Head of Strategy & Scheduling at Cricket Australia, says, “Without the corporation or support of both governments, the AIYD would not have been able to put together such a fantastic agenda.

“The discussions that transpire at the AIYD are very enriching and relevant to the two governments.”

The central theme of AIYD 2018 was ‘Digital Disruption’ in fields of democracy, media and workplace.

AIYD and the Synergy in Australia-India Relationship

With the AIYD being held every year, Australia is more than just a preferred destination for education.

Increased engagement with Australia is now instrumental in India’s pursuit for progress and prosperity.

The AIYD alumni are invested in the bilateral relationship and comprise of young CEOs/Founders, award-winning journalists, politicians, elected Parliament of Australia members, sportspersons, NGO leaders and entrepreneurs, amongst other professions.

Here are a few initiatives and collaborations facilitated by the AIYD alumni:

Two AIYD fellowships have been funded by the AIYD Alumni grants program.

One fellowship enabled a young Indian to accept an internship with Pollinate Energy, an Australian NGO working in the renewable energy space in India, co-founded by AIYD 2014 alumnus Monique Alfris.

While the other fellowship enabled a young Australian to participate in a teacher training program in a rural village in India with the Australian NGO, Tara.Ed, run by AIYD 212 alumnus Jennifer Star.

Hayley Bolding, Victoria Young Australian of the Year 2013, set up Atma, an NGO in India at the age of 23. The NGO has been supporting local groups in their efforts to give children a better chance at life through education.

Jennifer Star, NSW Young Australian of the Year 2012 and AIYD alumni, runs Tara.Ed, an NGO training teachers to promote sustainable quality education in rural India – an organization she launched when she was only 21.

Two taskforce papers, one comparing skills and education sectors in Australia and India, and the other exploring areas for collaboration in sport have been prepared by AIYD alumni.

The Sports Taskforce Report was prepared by Amrut Joshi and Jacob Taylor, while the Education Taskforce Report was prepared by Srijan Pal Singh.

AIYD alumni Chris O’Neill, director of an engineering firm in Melbourne, collaborated with Chhavi Rajawat, the Sarpanch of the village Soda in Rajasthan, to draw out a roadmap for improving the quality and quantity of freshwater available in the village, and improve wastewater services by developing a series of low-tech, sustainable water harvesting and treatment systems.

Another AIYD alumi Talish Ray visited Hobart in 2016 to study firsthand Tasmania’s Safe Home, Safe Families Action Plan. This fellowship was facilitated by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute and consisted of a study and interaction with various local stakeholders.

AIYD alumni Kashish Gupta, a broadcast journalist with 10 years of work experience in NDTV was selected to launch and run the India edition of The Conversation – an Australian digital news platform.

AIYD 2016 delegates Sam Freeman and Lairenjam Niranjan Singh have formed a partnership to deliver high quality skill development programs to the youth of North East India through their organisations, ARC India and JCRE Skill Solutions. Sam and Niranjan formed this partnership and announced it during a signing ceremony in Manipur in April 2016, just two months after they discussed it at AIYD 2016.

AIYD alumni Sam Almaliki spearheaded a successful Australia India Council (AIC) grant application to bring the first international female indigenous cricket squad to India in May 2016.

Hakimuddin Habibulla’s visit to Australia as an AIYD delegate in 2014 marked the beginning of his organization’s close affiliation with Australian-based AUSTSWIM.

Since then, the two organizations have successfully applied and implemented a grant from the AIC, ensuring that 99 swim teachers trained in the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety foundation course in the Indian sub-continent.

The grant allowed them to bring the 2004 & 2012 Australian Olympic Head Coach Leigh Nugent to India to conduct Professional Development Workshops for swim teachers and coaches across India.

Dr. Amit Ranjan and Mosiqi Acharya, both 2015 AIYD delegates, collaborated to complete a series of podcasts which were aired on SBS Hindi and discussed the historical linkages between Australia and India.

AIYD alumnus Payal Mahindroo was appointed as a Board Member of the Australia India Council.

The Council’s purpose is to broaden the relationship between Australia and India by encouraging and supporting contacts and increasing levels of knowledge and understanding between the peoples and institutions of the two countries.

AIYD alumnus Julian O’Shea organized an India Humanitarian Design Summit project, which connected Australian university students with Indian students, designers and community members through a two-week learning process in Mumbai, including undertaking a human-centered design project.

Good relations between countries are ultimately founded upon good personal relationships.

The Australia India Youth Dialogue recognizes this, and for many years has been at the forefront of fostering friendship, contacts and networks between young people from both countries.

“The AIYD is a great platform for both India and Australia to get together and understand the challenges that we both face, given that both the nations are so different,” says Scott Farlow, Parliamentary Secretary, Australia, on how the AIYD is impacting the relations between Australia and India.

The AIYD continues to support efforts like these in order to enable a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives, thereby encouraging emerging young leaders to think about how the Australia-India relationship may be strengthened.

About AIYD:
Every year, AIYD brings together 15 brilliant, enterprising and young minds from Australia and India at an annual conference to enable a rich exchange of ideas to inject new impetus into the bilateral relationship.

Hosted in Australia and India in alternate years, AIYD provides a deeper cultural insight and understanding of the similarities and differences between both the nations.

The AIYD is proudly supported by its distinguished partners, Tata Consultancy Services, UTS: Insearch, Macquarie University, The University of New South Wales and the Victorian Government.

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