Very recently I represented India in a youth conference in Edinburgh to participate in re imagining Indo- UK relationship. It was quite an enlightening experience for me at multiple levels. For starters it helped me look at youth leadership from a very different lens. It was heartening to see various dignitaries so interested in our opinions, debates, and dialogues. As it was happening I couldn’t help but wonder why? I think it goes without saying that today‟s youth is the present and the future. Young people across the world are achieving great feats which earlier used to be the sole prerogative of people in mid-40‟s. We have the youngest CEO Suhas Gopinath who happens to be just 25 years old! No doubt the models of who can become successful have become disruptive. Secondly, when asked the right questions, we have the temerity to offer the correct answer and not the most politically correct answer. Youth today are more assertive and have a valid reasoning behind their opinions. Youth leadership is increasingly being recognized and celebrated across the world. Change makers, Global shapers, One young world and IIT Mentors are some unique organizations each with a mission to harness this immense youth power. I have been very closely associated with one of these organizations – IIT Mentors in recent past. Even from the very outset I found the idea of IIT Mentors immensely fascinating. For me mentor-ship is not a synonym of hand–holding, nor it is a substitute of self motivation; it takes the already self-motivated people to the next level of success by helping them channelize their efforts in the right direction. I wish many more mentees and mentors discover the joy of mentoring via our nation building initiative. With an increasingly digital world one would assume that reaching out to successful alumni who graduated way early would not a difficult task at all. But great things are not all that simple. There are various reasons one would like to reach out to an alumni. Some for getting to know an industry a little better before making a career decision; for some others it would be knowing the ground realities of the dream college they are pursuing for post-graduation ; but the last one and the most important one is reaching out for the domain specific help or networking help while starting up a new venture. I think the biggest value add in this space is finding the right mentor – one who is not only knowledgeable about the area but also someone who relishes the joy of mentoring. IIT Mentors platform has made many such mentors so easily accessible who otherwise may not be within the reach of most of the mentees at all. At IIT Mentors, our Sunday meetings bubble with vibrant new ideas, possibilities and end with new discoveries every-time. It is so exciting to watch one of the ideas coming out from these meetings and magically taking the shape of a full-fledged event – mere thoughts of the next meeting always fills you with more energy. The extra-ordinary level of commitment from a volunteer team that works with the overflowing passion is great motivator. An organization like IIT Mentors clearly recognizes the force and potential of youth leadership. Since the days of inception, it has progressively demonstrated the value of trusting and investing into youth leadership.
Originally written in Sampark, IIT Mentors
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