Speaking to Democracy News Live Preethi Herman, country director Change.org spoke about the possibilities of what can be achieved when people come together to interact with their common value system of a democracy.
A democracy in itself is nothing unless and until people interact with it, voice their opinions and push the systems to get what they expect out of it. Preethi narrated a story about how a young woman from New Delhi decided that her father who had not been there at all for her growing up years must not have his name on her passport. But the Government of India regulations demanded it. She launched a campaign using Change.org and in the process what came out was a whole lot of cases where men had abandoned their families and single mothers were having to bring up the children, single handedly.
Preethi was convinced that a lot can be achieved between two democracies with a young population. She said, "Projects that are coming from collaboration of entrepreneurial energy between these two countries are fascinating."
How are they going about it?
The inaugural of AIYD 2018 was hosted in Delhi. There was an introductory session on Australia India Relations, led by Harinder Sidhu, Australia High Commissioner to India and Amit Dasgupta, Inaugural India Country Director at UNSW, and moderated by AIYD 2014 alumnus and steering committee member, Danielle Rajendram. Also on the agenda was a talk by Professor Jane den Hollander AO, Vice Chancellor at Deakin University , and a Cultural Intelligence Workshop by Dr. Tom Varghese. The day was wrapped with a grand opening dinner, graced by Rohit Manchanda, Commissioner - Trade & Investment, India, NSW, Department of Industry, Ravneet Pawha, Associate Vice President, Global and Executive Director, South Asia, Deakin University, Darren Rudd, Head of Corporate Affairs - Australia and New Zealand, TCS, Michelle Wade, Commissioner, South Asia, Victorian Government, Susan Grace, Consul General, Chennai, Australian High Commission, Alphons Joseph Kannanthanam and Tony Huber, Consul General, Mumbai, Australian High Commission.
The first day of the dialogue, 22nd January, centered around the theme of Digital Democracy in Action started with a panel discussion on Digital Democracy & Civic Engagement, lead by Tim Watts, MP, from Australia, and Baijayant Panda (MP) and Meenakshi Lekhi (MP) from India. The schedule also had a talk on Digital Disruption in Action by AIYD 2016 alumnus Prerna Mukharya, Founder, Outline India, Krishna Kumar, CEO & Founder, Cropin Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and Sairee Chahal, Founder SHEROES, and moderated by Richard Bolt, Secretary, Victorian Government.
Being hosted for the 7th consecutive time, AIYD has been providing support not just to deal with the problems and trends in the bilateral relationship but by also potentially providing solutions for those problems. A recently published trends report by AIYD suggests that the bilateral relationship has seen a qualitative leap in last 12 months. "With AIYD, our goal is to support and accelerate the strategic partnership between Australia and India. We can nurture the bilateral relationship by encouraging debate, dialogue and collaborations between the topmost and emerging young leaders from both the countries. So, every year, AIYD provides a platform for this rich exchange by hosting young Australian and Indian leaders. Today, we can proudly say that our 180+ member strong alumni from India and Australia have made a significant impact through collaborations," said AIYD Chair Karan Anand.
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 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, Austalia, on how the AIYD is impacting the relations between Australia and India.
Speaking on the tremendous support extended by the governments of Australia and India, Sachin Kumar, Head of Strategy & Scheduling at Cricket Australia, says, "Without the corporation or support of both governments, AIYD would not have been able to put together such a fantastic agenda. The discussions that are happening are very enriching and relevant to the two governmentâs objectives."
AIYD 2018 is likely to throw light on the anticipated changes in the bilateral cultural and trade relationship driven by digital disruption, and provide impetus for potential collaborations, paved through debates and discussions between the best and brightest young leaders of Australia and India.
The AIYD is supported by its partners, Tata Consultancy Services, UTS: Insearch, Macquarie University, The University of New South Wales and the Victorian Government.