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Washington-based Indo-American Center hosts two-day event in Delhi for young Indian leaders

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Indian Youth Leaders Program
Participants of the Indian Youth Leaders Program with Indo-American Center Executive Director Vinson Palathingal (seated third from left) in New Delhi on February 1, 2019.

The Indian Youth Leaders Program, held in association with US Department of State, was aimed at strengthening US-India relations through a network of youth leaders.

Activists, entrepreneurs, lawyers and young thought leaders came together for a two-day event in New Delhi to hold a meaningful discussion on ways to strengthen the US-India bilateral relationship.

The Indian Youth Leaders Program, an initiative by the Washington-based Indo-American Center and the US Department of State, was held in the Indian capital on January 31 and February 1. The event was also aimed at providing the participants an international platform to introduce themselves and present their ideas and together look for strong viable ideas to strengthen the ties.

The event was hosted by Shalini Goyal Bhalla, a leader, social activist, mentor and entrepreneur, and Vinson Palathingal, the Executive Director of the Indo-American Center.

The event was inaugurated by Ariel H. Pollock, the Director, North India, at the US Embassy in Delhi, and Richard M. Rossow, a Senior Adviser and the Wadhwani Chair in the US- India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based in Washington.

The program saw a number of panels that discussing everything from new entrepreneurial frontiers, current global trends and economic cooperation, to education in the modern world and its role in society.

“If you’re not offered a seat at the table, make your own table,” Sakshi Talwar, co-founder of Rugs & Beyond, said in one of the panels on January 31.

Vivek Kapoor of Dine Out, Samar Singh of Jugnoo and Alka Lamba, a social work advocate, politician and entrepreneur, were amongst speakers at a panel that discussed in detail Indian ecosystem and disruption.

Another panel involving Rossow, former Indian diplomat T.P. Sreenivavsan, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry CEO Binoy Job, public policy expert at Center for Civil Society Bhuvana Anand and Indian parliamentarian Meenakshi Lekhi decoded and deciphered the current global economic trend and brainstormed on how they can be leveraged to have greater economic cooperation in trade and investment.

The interactive session discussed the present and future of Indo-American trade relations, shift in the dynamics of trading blocs such as ASEAN, EU and NATO, and its effects and foreign direct investment (FDI) and safeguarding intellectual property rights too.

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Another key panel on January 31 was on the topic “Education in the modern world.”

On Day 2 of the event, Guest of Honor Apoorv Om, a young artist who is deaf, shared his views on how being physically challenged cannot be an obstacle to become a leader and have the traits of leadership. Om also shared his achievements at a young age.

Image India Institute founder Robinder Sachdeva moderated the first session of the second day, “Emerging strategic partnership between India and the US.”

In the second session, “Responsible governance/democracy,” Alka Lamba shared her experience of working for civilian movement which ultimately led her to join the Aam Admi Party.

Another high profile young leader speaking at the event was Indian National Congress Party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi. She said she sharing ideas was important both in democracy and autocracy.

The third session, moderated by Rossow, was about security and counterterrorism. Panelist Amit Malhotra, talking about the dark web, hacked two android phones within a short span of time. He showed how people give access of their identity and the content of their phone to app stores, while installing an application.


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