‘Yugen’ - A Virtual Conference, Pathways World School, Aravalli
Amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, 10 students from Year 11 IBD at DAIS got the opportunity to participate in a virtual conference hosted by Pathways World School, Aravalli. The Conference was named PWS -Yugen which can be defined as, “A profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the Universe… and the sad beauty of human suffering’. With a theme of COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on multiple industries and sectors around the world, the conference was held over three days from 3rd to 5th July. It included diverse keynote speakers from various sectors of life and was followed by intense discussions in the form of barazza sessions. The hosts created a friendly, collaborative, interactive and positive environment throughout this conference.
The students started off their conference experience by attending the Opening Ceremony. With speeches by Akshun Abhimanyu, Gurfatey Pirzada, Mehreen Pirzada and Manjula Shenoi, Pathways World School’s Virtual Conference, ‘Yugen’, was declared open. The students were introduced to their Barraza groups, with whom they played interesting ice breaking activities in the introductory session. Some interesting ones such as “30-second defence” and “2 truths and a lie”, helped them connect with the other delegates. The first keynote speaker, Mr. Dwayne Leonardo Fernandes, presented the effects on the economy, on trade and the impact it had created on both macro and micro-economies of India. The next keynote speaker, Aditya Ghosh, who focused on the impact on businesses around the world. The delegates in their baraza groups discussed the impact on the economy and specific industries. They also brainstormed to identify successful business ideas that would work during these times and presented the same in the form of a video.
The second day began with general registrations, a fun Kahoot quiz on the pandemic, some short discussions on the pandemic and the issues surrounding it. The first keynote speaker on day two was Ms. Becky Schnekser, a Science teacher in Middle School Science and an avid environmentalist. The key learnings the students took away stemmed from her inspiring words, one of them being, “The pandemic has made me change my mindset, not thinking about what I can’t do, but what I can.”
The next two keynote speeches from Harvard students highlighted the effect the pandemic had on the mental health of a person. “I really want to lift up voices for those who have been oppressed rather than speaking for them”, said Mr Andrew de Souza. Mr. Jean-Luc Henraux, on the other hand, being a student himself, spoke about how the pandemic has affected education around the world. There were two interesting keynote speeches by Mrs. Urooj Raza Sayyami and Mrs. Szarita Laipthlang, both of whom delved into the impact on the media and news. The next speakers from the field of medicine gave them insight into the medical aspect of the pandemic. While Dr. Kamesh Gupta advised the group on staying safe and healthy amidst the pandemic, Dr. Rajsrinivas Parthasarathy spoke about the effects of COVID-19 on a patient. Dr. Ravi Gupta explained the methods in which the virus spreads, the need for getting tested and the precautionary measures to be followed. Students discussed each of these points in their break out groups.
The cultural night, streamed on YouTube Live, was definitely the highlight of the day. All the cultural performances including their own, featured in a well-compiled video. It was interesting to watch the talented students from every school come up with unique performances. The delegates had a great time and they eagerly awaited the next day.
The third day began with more inspiring speeches, starting with Rajender Sud with a talk on mindfulness followed by Samir M.C who spoke about the impact on the Tourism and Hotel Industries. Naseem Khan Achakzai spoke about the impacts on businesses while Dr. Leesha Kumar highlighted the impacts on the healthcare industry and Albie Giandomenico expressed concerns on the impact on the education sector. The focus of each of these speakers was to kindle the delegates to think of solutions to all problems set by the pandemic. The conference came to an end with an address by the Guests of Honour at the PWS Yugen Conference, Meena Gupta, Meghana Narayan, Iqra Manzoor, Meiyang Chang, and Kiren Rijiju, followed by a closing ceremony. The delegates had a wonderful time forging new bonds and an enriching learning experience which encouraged them to find alternatives and stay positive during these trying times.
The delegates were extremely grateful for being a part of an interactive and engaging conference that had surpassed beyond their expectations, on an informal yet formal platform.
“I had an amazing time and am extremely thankful for this opportunity. What I appreciated most was the way the Pathways Students made this Virtual Conference so interactive and interesting. It was extremely well planned, executed efficiently. I am happy to have interacted with some great people I’ve met through Yugen”.
“The Conference was amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for the opportunity! I particularly enjoyed the barazza sessions as they were engaging and we got to meet many new, like-minded people”.
“I am privileged to live the experience of such a Conference. I learnt so much from the 17 Keynote Speakers and all the barazza sessions. It was fun being vocal and discussing the pros and cons the pandemic had on our Nation's economic, political, social and cultural sectors. It was refreshing."
“The Conference was great! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to take part in it! The Barazza sessions and the enthusiastic discussions we had, in them, were the highlight of the conference for me. My barazza leader was an amazing and adaptable person.”
“It has been amazing getting to hear so many perspectives through the Conference and the best part of it (for me) was being able to learn, and clarify, so many pre-existing doubts and myths surrounding COVID19. Moreover, I think the conference was organised very well”.
“I absolutely loved the PWS Yugen Conference! My favorite part was the barazza sessions - especially getting to know everyone in my group as they’re all incredibly talented individuals. I truly hope I’ll be able to meet them again one day - this time in person”.
“The PWS Yugen Conference was interesting, interactive and so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s an experience I will always carry with me. Thank you so much for the opportunity”.
“The Conference was really interesting and I honestly loved the baraza sessions. The discussions were the highlight for me as they were extremely lively and open. I had a wonderful time and I am thankful for this opportunity”.
“This was my first Round Square Conference and I had an amazing experience. I truly enjoyed the barazza sessions and keynote speeches! I am truly grateful for such an amazing experience”.
“I really loved the Conference! Especially the talk by Mr. Dwayne Fernandes, as it was extremely informative and very relevant to the subject I’m interested in pursuing through further education! The barazas were extremely interesting as well“.
DAIS Student Delegates: Dev Mehta, Tamanna Sanghvi, Kahaan Jain, Adya Rohira, Arzoo Usgaonkar, Stuti Daga, Dhaniti Parekh, Mehak Tiwana, Rajveer Batra and Ahaan Bhansali.
DAIS Adult Delegates: Ms. Pratima Sridhar and Ms. Manisha Nanda