Second SAARC youth camp brings over 60 delegates from South Asia to Chennai

January 13, 2008 | By | Reply More

Meet aimed at increasing communication and understanding among the youth in the region (File Photo)

Chennai: The second ever youth camp of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) brought over 60 delegates from across south Asia to Chennai on Saturday at the start of the five-day summit hosted by India.

The SAARC youth meet, launched as mandated by the resolutions adopted at the 14th SAARC summit in April last year, is aimed at increasing communication, understanding and cooperation among the youth in member countries.

Representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India (participants from Pakistan and Bhutan were not present) will share their experiences to formulate a declaration that will highlight issues common to the young people of the region and identify strategies to deal with them. Among the issues already identified are globalisation, sustainable development and high-risk behaviour among the youth.

“The summit is important to bridge the gaps between our countries. We should understand each other for the benefit of future policies and the country as a whole,” Y.L. Nilesh of the University of Pune, Maharashtra, and one of 10 delegates representing India, told to news papers. High on the Indian agenda was mitigating the impact of climate change by reforming lifestyles and combating HIV/AIDS, he said.

Anna University Vice-Chancellor D. Viswanathan, who inaugurated the event, stressed the role the youth should play in addressing social issues, eliminating evil customs, contributing to economic development, participating in public life and protecting the environment. “Youth development programmes,” he said, “should engage youth as resources in the community and create leadership opportunities for young people.” Project-based and experiential learning in collaboration with business, labour and industry was also important. These programmes should also be able to respond effectively while respecting the culture of the person being served. “In this respect, youth development practitioners may have to increase their knowledge of different cultures,” he said.

He stressed the importance of training rural youth in vocational skills covering manufacturing and services, and developing programmes to bridge the urban-rural divide. He urged participants to develop emotional intelligence, including the qualities of self-awareness, self-motivation and empathy.

The SAARC summit has been timed to coincide with the National Youth Festival organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in the city.

Author: Sarah Hiddleston 

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Category: Voices of Youth

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