INDIA hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Young Authors’ Conference on April 12-13 as part of the calendar of events drawn up by the Ministry of External Affairs on the occasion of the SCO Summit. India is the current chair of the SCO.
The Ministry of Education was designated to organise the Young Authors’ Conference, with National Book Trust (NBT) as the implementing agency.
The conference provided a platform to explore the avenues of modern education, training of youth, wider involvement in entrepreneurial activities and innovative projects. The theme of the conference was ‘Civilisational Dialogue amongst the SCO Member Nations: Perspectives from Young Scholars’, with sub-themes of History & Philosophy, Economy, Religion, Culture, Literature and Science & Medicine.
As part of the ongoing presidency of India, SCO aims at advancing the theme of ‘SECURE’ (Security, Economic cooperation, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Environment), articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi initially at the SCO Summit in Qingdao in 2018. In this light, various youth-centric activities in general, and the ones related to the genres of art, culture, science etc. have been held among the member-states.
MAXIM A. ZAMSHEV (Russia)
Commonalities in culture
Minister of State for Culture & External Affairs, Meenakashi Lekhi inaugurated the conference, in the presence of Prof. Govind Prasad Sharma Chairman, NBT; Saumya Gupta Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, and Yuvraj Malik, Director, NBT. Inaugurating the conference, Lekhi said there were numerous commonalities in our cultures and these ties needed to be strengthened further.
Janesh Kain, Deputy Secretary General, SCO, addressed the conference virtually and said it will establish a tradition of cooperation between countries in the fields of literature, culture and art.
Youth as ambassadors
Minister of State for External Affairs & Education, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh was the Chief Guest at the valedictory ceremony. He said India had been actively taking part in all the cooperation activities of the organisation and was its highly valued member.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prof. Sharma highlighted that mutual development required dialogue and collaboration. He added that the youth should strive to understand the diverse culture, traditions and perspectives of each other’s society, in order to enable better and deeper understanding of our shared culture. He said that dialogue was the basic medium to keep any human society and civilization alive.
The conference brought forth the connection youth had not only with their own society but also with neighbouring countries, as well as the vision that they had to further deepen inter-cultural cooperation
Malik, in his address, said youth as the next generation of leaders had the potential to bring new perspectives, drive innovation, foster entrepreneurship and promote cross-cultural understanding. The Young Authors’ Conference, he said, was a testament to the organisation’s commitment to empower young people by providing a platform for young writers and scholars to engage in a meaningful dialogue.
The conference, he said, was an enriching experience witnessing the exchange of perspective and ideas. The dialogue shed light on the interdependence between human beings and society and explored language as a social tool that facilitated interaction between various communities promoting the advancement of knowledge.
A PM-YUVA Mentorship Scheme as per the vision of the Prime Minister had been successfully launched by the Ministry of Education with NBT as the implementing agency. This initiative can become a template for long-term mentoring and support to SCO Young Authors with the twoday conference providing a dynamic platform to kick off the same. This synchronises with what the Prime Minister first stated at his UN General Assembly speech in 2014 that “genuine global partnership for peace and inclusive development.”
EKATHERINA S. MANOYLO (Russia)
The conference provided fresh perspectives from participating delegates, scholars and speakers exploring the mutual and distinct characteristics in cultures and heritage at the same time acknowledging the role of literature in aiding the connection between cultures. It paved the way and the need to have more such dialogues in the near future in a sustainable manner.